“Shades of Magic” series by V.E. Schwab


Do you like fantasy? I have really been getting into this genre lately. It’s nice to be swept away to a new world full of magic, villains, and adventure.

The most recent series I’ve finished is the series by V.E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light. If you’re not afraid of GIANT beautiful masterpieces, you definitely need to pick this series up.

It’s a bit of a mouthful to explain, so here goes:

There are three Londons: Grey London (has no magic), Red London (has a good amount of magic), White London (has a dangerous amount of magic). The people know of these three Londons thanks to the two Antari in the world, Kell and Holland. They can travel between worlds and deliver messages (and smuggle magical items between the worlds).

In Grey London, Lila Bard is a pickpocket. She’s really good at stealing and weaseling her way out of things. One day, she picks Kell’s pocket, and the two become travelling buddies in a weird twist of events.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so I can’t really get into more details. But there are pirates, evil rulers (in abundance), a magical gladiator-like competition, several curses, and a fight for everything the characters know and love.

V.E. Schwab is a colorful writer, and while the books can be slow-moving, you don’t notice because the world-building and writing style are so magical (pun intended?). I can’t recommend this series enough. Just be glad you are hearing about it now that the books are all out and you don’t have to wait for the story to continue. You’re welcome.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the books here: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light

“Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

static1.squarespaceAnna and the French Kiss is a YA contemporary book that despite its frustrating premise and the questionable actions of one of the main characters, is too cute for words. Anna, to her disgust, has just been forced to attend a boarding school in Paris, far away from her best friend Bridge and her love interest, Toph. (At this point, I’m like BOO-freaking-HOO! You’re having your school and living expenses paid for to study in Paris! How awful could that be?!)

Though Anna is angry and frustrated at starting at a new school in a new country, she quickly becomes friends with her dorm neighbor, Mer, and all of Mer’s friends.Including the absolutely dreamy Etienne St. Clair (known to most as just St. Clair). He’s gorgeous, funny, smart, and British. *swoons*

But there’s one problem. St. Clair has a girlfriend already at a nearby college (and her name is Ellie, which made this book really hard for me to read!). But then St. Clair begins to take an interest in Anna, finding out they both like movies and they both enjoy each other’s company. They become very close — like best friends close.

As much as Anna likes St. Clair, she has to remember Ellie. And St. Clair seems to have a hard time remembering her as well. Thus, here’s the book’s big question: Will St. Clair stay with Ellie, or will he follow his new crush with Anna?

This book had me feeling very conflicted. I found it absolutely adorable and fun and unputdownable, but I also had a lot of issues with Anna’s spoiled attitude and St. Clair’s unfaithfulness (while not physical, it was still emotional cheating). If you can look past these things, it was really enjoyable — don’t get me wrong. It’s just really exhilarating to cheer for Anna to finally get her French Kiss.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Purchase the book here.

March 2017 Wrap-Up

March was a little bit better for reading, but I made it through some BIG books. So, March was made of 20 books for me. As of the end of March, I am at 64 of my goal of 200 — 33% of the way there!

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Here’s what I read:

  1. My Secret: A PostSecret Book by Frank Warren*
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  3. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
  4. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  7. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones*
  8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  10. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  11. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
  13. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  14. Legend by Marie Lu
  15. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
  16. Prodigy by Marie Lu
  17. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  18. Champion by Marie Lu

*Indicates a book not pictured because I read it via library book, ebook, or audiobook.
Does not include 2 books read for work that do not fall in the scope of this blog.

What did you read in March? What are you looking forward to in April?

January Wrap-Up

Well, January was a fantastic reading month! I read 31 books this month — one per day! One reason I read so much this month is that I re-read the whole Series of Unfortunate Events series because of the Netflix series. The series is good either book or movie (but the book is better).

My goal this year is 200 books again — I have some more vacations/trips planned than last year, so I think I’ll be even with last year at least (214).

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Here are the books I read in January:

  1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  2. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  3. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness*
  5. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  6. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  7. Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter*
  8. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
  9. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
  10. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
  11. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
  12. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
  13. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
  14. The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket
  15. The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
  16. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket
  17. The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket
  18. Indelible by Adelia Saunders*
  19. The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
  20. The End by Lemony Snicket
  21. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  22. Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee*
  23. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  24. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  25. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  26. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough*
  27. I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (review)
  28. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
  29. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

(Plus 2 books that don’t fit the scope of my blog and were read for work.)
*These books aren’t pictured because they were either audiobooks or ebooks I don’t own a copy of.

What was your favorite book you read this month?

“I Liked My Life” by Abby Fabiaschi

New release Tuesday!

51h7j9fq7glI Liked My Life is my first 5-star read of 2017. The story is told from three viewpoints: Maddy as a ghost after her suicide; Eve, her daughter; and Brady, Eve’s father and Maddy’s widower.

Maddy is trying to find a replacement for herself — someone who can bring Brady and Eve back to happiness after her own sudden death. Eve is learning how to deal with not having her mother around anymore, trying to figure out what would cause her mother to do what she did. Brady is struggling with alcohol abuse, anger issues, and the nagging notion that he was the reason for his wife’s suicide.

All of the characters grow in their own way throughout the book, learning, grieving, and stumbling through life. This book stole my entire Sunday — I started it in the morning and didn’t move until I finished it. I Liked My Life has an exquisite, sweeping story with relatable characters and stunning writing.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

“Wolf by Wolf” by Ryan Graudin

51lktqmvkxl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Wolf by Wolf begins with an interesting premise: World War II is over, but Hitler was the victor. Every year (akin to the Hunger Games), a motorcycle race is held to honor the country. But there is a secret resistance building a plan. One of these resistance members is Yael. Yael was in a concentration camp and was subjected to medical experiments that gave her the power to imitate any person’s appearance. Because of this power, Yael is chosen to impersonate a racer who Hitler has taken a liking to, in the hopes of assassinating him after she wins the race.

This book is not something I would normally pick up, but I really enjoyed the premise. The story goes from the “present” (1950s) to the past, telling the characters’ origins with the resistance movement. There is a sequel that released this year called Blood for Blood, and I have it on my TBR pile. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Purchase the book here.

2016 in Review

Goodbye 2016! Good riddance! ¡Adiós! It was a rough year to be alive. But I read some awesome books! I wanted to do a year-long wrap-up! I originally set a goal of 80 books, but I met that in about half a year. I upped my goal to 200 then, which would be the most books I’ve read in a year, ever. Here’s the stats of my year!

Total books read: 214

ARCs read: 54
Listened to over 39 days worth of audiobooks!

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(I didn’t rate any books at 1 star this year, but I abandoned quite a few.)

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I keep a shelf every year that has every book I’ve read that year in the order I’ve read them. This of course doesn’t include books that I don’t own a physical copy (ebooks, audiobooks, library books). It always looks so pretty and I love it!

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How did your 2016 reading goals go? I will be posting a top 20 of 2016 and a 2017 goals post soon, so keep an eye out for that! Thanks for a great year!