Monday, 29 January 2018

'Shades of Magic' Is Truly A Magical Series

Series: Shades of Magic 
Author: V.E Scwhab
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

Review


When I originally finished A Darker Shade of Magic I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready to commit to this series. It took me awhile to realise I actually liked it. But like it, I do. In fact this entire series has me smitten!!

V.E Scwhab has a way about with words, not in that she writes in beautiful, lyrical prose, but in the way she builds her world and characters. In a lot of fantasy novels I’ve read, the world gets bigger and bigger, expanding continuously as the series progresses. It does get a little harder to remember places and their names, and referring to the map constantly can be tiring. That’s probably why I love how Schwab has constructed the world, making it big enough to encompass plot progression, but not overly extravagant that it has to include 2 continents and a galaxy far away. Instead, she builds strong foundation for the 4 Londons, different in every way, with rich and very believable history.

Schwab’s strength in writing also translates to her characters. Each character is unique, carrying their own voice and back story, which makes it easy to connect. It’s very rare that I find every character memorable, but Schwab makes sure that each person she introduces has a purpose in the series. Whether it was a minor or major character, they all played a part in driving the plot. The thing I loved most though, was that Schwab created characters with depth. Sure, you have your decided villains vs. heroes, but I started noticing a lot of grey occurring. What I mean is that Schwab was trying to imply that there is no definitive line between good vs. bad, and you could see that each character had flaws that either made me realise not everyone is perfect and those who come across as “bad” can be empathised for.

Shades of Magic biggest strength though, is its continuous story line. True, each novel has a different problem that needs to be resolved, but there all interlinked and stem from the original situation that occurs in ADSoM. It was so easy to keep up with the plot and what was happening because, as a whole, the series had one purpose. I find a lot of fantasies tend to steer left and right with mini challenges for the characters before it ultimately becomes so different to what was originally introduced. SOM knew where it was heading and did it convincingly.

Schwab’s has produced a creative and gripping story, easy to fly through and really immerse yourself in the world and its characters. I grew attached to the characters and the world itself, wanting to experience it first hand. The series wrapped up satisfyingly, and A Conjuring of Light was probably my favourite read of the three.

Individual Ratings
A Darker Shade of Magic: 3.5/5
A Gathering of Shadows: 4/5
A Conjuring of Light: 4.5/5

Overall Series Rating


Read more »

Friday, 19 January 2018

A Year of Reading In 2017

I am well aware it’s already midway through January, but it doesn’t feel right to not post a recap of the previous year as the first post of 2018. 

In 2017, I didn’t set yearly resolutions as I usually do. Instead, I decided to implement steps to build towards habits and goals I want to achieve in the long run. I found that every year I tried to set New Years Resolutions, I didn’t plan the appropriate steps to achieve them and so they were left forgotten by April or May. 

What I wanted to focus on was how I felt whilst reading and blogging, amongst other things in my personal life. I mentioned in my 2017 goals video that I didn’t want reading and blogging to become a chore because I felt like I had to read the most books or feel like I’ve failed as a reader. Likewise, I didn’t want to overcommit to blogging and produce content I wasn't happy with just for the numbers. With that in mind, let’s jump into 2017 and how it panned out for me!


A Year of Reading





Book Count: 17 
Immensely lower than any of my other years, but what I wanted was to read memorable books that left an impression, which I can confidently say has been the case. Alongside that I did make a conscience effort to expand my reading genre and read books that were thought-provoking.

Favourites

Reviews


Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised with how satisfying majority of the reads I went through for 2017. Here's hoping 2018 is the same. I'm not too sure I'll write a full post on my goals for 2018 because I feel like that's kind of too late as well, but we'll see!

How Was 2017 For You? Let Me Know What Your Favourite Read Was!


Read more »

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

I Expected So Much More From "Cooper Barthomolew Is Dead"

Title: Cooper Barthomolew is Dead 
Author: Rebecca James 
Publication Date: October 1st, 2014
Add to Goodreads | Buy from the Book Depository 
Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff. 

Suicide. 

That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes.

Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?
As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal. Are those friends – and enemies – what they seem? Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free?


Review


Cooper Barthomolew Is Dead was one of those books that I was really anticipating, but ended up so different to my expectations. Not a terrible different per se, but lacked elements that I was after in a thriller. 


The biggest problem I had with CBID was the lack of intensity. There was the mystery, the build up, the plot twist and the reveal. However, there was no edge to any of it. I wasn’t holding my breath waiting to see what would happen next, nor was I surprised by a lot of it. The plot twist was interesting and introduced more depth to character development, but, much like a lot of the novel, there wasn’t much emphasis or focus on it. In fact, with the amount of issues that were included in CBID - LGBQT awareness, family ties, love and loyalty, substance abuse etc. - they were never explored thoroughly. That was another aspect of the plot that I thought could’ve been executed better. I feel like which such prominent issues, especially at the age of young adult readers, it would’ve been ideal to draw out these topics to learn from.



I did like though, how there were some real characters. Characters who were flawed and unlikable, but still had redeeming qualities so in the end I was still engaged emotionally with them. 



Cooper Barthomolew Is Dead was still an enjoyable read. I read it in a day and a half, and for being an easier read, I appreciated it for bringing me out of a really long readings slump. It’s somewhat hard to judge after having expectations that weren’t met, but I have seen some really positive reviews for this so it might be up your alley. 



Read more »

Thursday, 14 December 2017

A Guide To Buying Presents For Bookworms

Christmas is just 11 days away! When it comes to Christmas presents there are those who were finished in November (bless them, but seriously how?), those who are deep into their list and others like myself who have only just realised they now have 2 days left to online shop before shipping arrives after Christmas. 

I've put together a Gift Guide for your fellow bookworm in case you're out of ideas!

Host a Games Night

Take a night off from reading together and grab this board game (or any other literary related board game) for some laughs! It Was a Dark and Stormy Night challenges you to identify the novel and author just by listening to the first two lines of a book.


Book Recommendation Tote

Featured: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Version, Night Film, Illuminae and Fairytales for Wilde Girls

I personally tend to be one of those people who will buy you books that I’ve loved, so you have to read it as well. Pick reads you want to recommend to your fellow book lover and wrap them up in a tote - a book-related one would be perfect!
 

For The Tea/Coffee Lovers

Store: 'PaperFury' (Society 6)

Such a cliche, but still one of the best things to receive. Society6 is a great place to look at mugs with bookish designs or head to Etsy. They’re so adorable! You could even put together a hot chocolate pack with mini marshmallows for them to christen their mug!


'Perfect Night In' Hamper

Featured: Anne of Green Gables

Grab a basket or box and add in a novel and its movie adaptation that you think your friend/family member MUST read and see. Pop in some of their favourite snacks and you’re set for a night of entertainment.

Your Lifestyle Lovers


Guilty as charged! I’m a sucker for plastering my walls with posters and images. Fairly sure these posters are really well known, but I can’t get past how creative it is, and still has a personalised feel because you’re gifting them a part of their favourite read. Otherwise grab a throw pillow for their reading nook or bed!


Stocking Stuffers

Stores (Left to Right): Belle Regalia, Wonderflies, KitCronkStudio

We’re talking those super cute and creative items on Etsy. I absolutely love book-related pins, bookmarks and anything else that is a miniature reminder of the books I love! 

Recommend Me Other Gift Ideas!


Read more »

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Why I Absolutely Loved "Nevermoor"

Title: Nevermoor
Series: Nevermoor #1
Author: Jessica Townsend
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Review


If you want to read any Middle Grade novel this year, (before the year comes to an end eeeppp), Nevermoor is the one to dive into. 

1. The world is spectacular 

Any fantasy novel that draws me in, is one with a vivid and expansive world, that encompasses various elements to make it believable. I felt like I was transported into Nevermoor with Morrigan and really, truly wanted to be there. There is a magic in Nevermoor that escapes from the pages purely just by reading about Nevermoor and its history and the city’s make up. Townsend has created a intricate and exciting world that, much like Narnia and Hogwarts/Hogsmeade, you can’t help but want these places to exist so that you can be there as well. 

2. It's perfect for all ages

Nevermoor carries the tone of a Middle Grade novel but has layers that have built a strong story line. It was straightforward enough to understand for any reader, but kept up the suspense and plot twists to keep me entertained and engaged. It was quite exciting really, between the trials and Morrigan’s integration into Nevermoor. I liked the pacing and am really glad that this is pretty much an all-age read.

3. Townsend was made to be a writer

Nevermoor is Jessica Townsend’s debut novel and already her first piece has been such a strong and admirable read. Townsend’s writing delivers a strong world and solid plot that has me anticipating not only the sequel to Nevermoor, but her future works. She’s made me remember why I absolutely love reading Middle Grade to this day. There’s a kind of emotion attached to it, like I’m reliving my childhood, going through the kiddish excitement from reading about a magical adventure and experiencing the feeling of really being there. 

Nevermoor is a win for all ages and I cannot wait to continue this adventure with Morrigan. 


Read more »