Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Thursday, July 2, 2015
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Publisher: Tor, an imprint of Macmillan
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Pages: 398
Format/Source: Hardback/Purchased 
Age Group/Genre: Adult/Science Fiction, Fantasy
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

I Wanna Be Like Victoria Schwab When I Grow Up...

Once again, Schwab delivers. And delivers. And delivers. Her beautiful writing is surpassed only by her amazing characters and intricate plots. Seriously, that writing--it's amazing. It's the type of writing I'm shooting for in my own novel. Here's just one example: "She wasn't his family. He wasn't hers. She didn't need his worry, and he didn't need her weight." I totally want to be like Victoria Schwab when I grow up.

Anyway, this book is spectacular. I love time travel so spatial travel is freaking awesome. Kell reminded me of a mix between Victor from Vicious (another one of Schwab's books), and the Doctor from Doctor Who. Which doctor, you ask? Probably 9. Or maybe a mix of 9 and 10. Yeah, that sounds right. 

And Lila is the coolest. She wants to be a pirate, you guys. AND I WANT HER TO BE A PIRATE, TOO. And I LOVED the bad guys in this book. At times I hated Holland so much and at times I felt so sorry for him. And the twins, Athos and Astrid. There's just something I love about evil twins. And those two were SUPER EVIL.

And RHY. Rhy is probably my favorite character in the book and he's not even in it that much. I NEED A RHY BOOK.

I was reminded of the movie Fallen (great movie, guys, if you haven't seen it), and a few different scenes in the Harry Potter books. And I loved how being Antari (the term for what Kell is, a Traveler) isn't genetic, because that adds a different kind of aspect to the book. And there was just so much interesting and creepy stuff going on in this book, along with tons of great suspense.

My rating for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab:

4.75 stars, actually. I was instantly pulled into the story, and I was thrilled to be on such a fantastic ride.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Macmillan

You may also enjoy:  ViciousCrewel

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Book Deja Vu: Gaunt

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hi everyone! Today's discussion post is partially inspired by the Instagram hashtag #CommonYALine, started by Brianna from Brianna's Bookish Confessions. With that hashtag, Brianna and others have been pointing out the all-too-common "I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding" line in YA books. But this post is mostly inspired by the fact that I just kept seeing this one word in tons of the books I was reading.

The word: "Gaunt". The first time I remember seeing "gaunt" was in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, with the characters with Gaunt as their last name. But as I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone recently, I also caught sight of the word "gaunt".

Some other books that contain the word "gaunt": We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, and The Jewel by Amy Ewing. Some of these books contain the word more than once. And these are only some of the books I've read that contain "gaunt" because I got tired of going through my notes while preparing to write this post. And I know that there are also some books I've read where I didn't even make a note of the word being used.

Now, this isn't to say that "gaunt" is a poor word choice or anything. Gaunt is a good word, I think. And it kind of makes me happy in a way because I associate it with Harry Potter. But I do feel like it is almost a requirement for authors to use this word these days, especially for fantasy books. But maybe they're just paying a little homage to J.K. Rowling? Maybe that's how I should choose to look at it.

How about you guys? Do you notice any words or phrases that seem to be used over and over in the books you're reading? Let me know!

Sundays in Bed With...Fairest and My New WIP!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sundays in Bed With... is a meme/feature started by my friend Kate at Midnight Book Girl, where we can highlight the book that we're spending the day in bed reading (or the one we wish we could be reading all day in bed!).

I'm hoping to spend the day in bed with...

Fairest by Marissa Meyer and my current WIP

I'm SUPER EXCITED about the new novel I'm writing. This is THE ONE guys. When I finish it (AND I WILL FINISH IT), I will try to get it published. I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS STORY. And I'm enjoying Fairest, too! :)

What are you spending this Sunday in bed with?  Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your post if you're participating in this meme and I'll try to stop by your blog!

Oh Happy Day!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015
Hi everyone!

I just want to take a little break from our regularly scheduled programming and say HOLY SHIT AMERICA! THIS IS SUCH A FREAKING AWESOME DAY!

As a bisexual woman, I don't often feel like a part of the LGBTQIA community. Which sucks. There are several reasons why (I'm married to a man so people don't see me as bisexual a lot of the time; some people think that bisexuality doesn't exist or that we're just "greedy" or something; and some people in the LGBTQIA community think of bisexuals as disingenuous or that we're just curious and we'll "go back to being heterosexual"; etc.) and don't get me wrong, I know my personal journey has been a cake walk compared to the majority of the community. But this post isn't about that.

Because today, today I finally feel like a part of the community. Yes, I'm already married and it was a marriage between a man and a woman, but this is just such a BIG DEAL that I feel like something great has happened for me and every other American. Our freedoms just expanded. This is the beginning of LGBTQIAs being seen as equals. This is the beginning of being a part of our own community, and the larger community. (And yes, I'm including myself when I say "LGBTQIA" as I should always have been, because the B is for me, right?) This is just the beginning, we have a long way to go still, but this is HUGE.

Love wins, you guys. Love wins.

Waiting on Wednesday (50): Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:
By Mercedes Lackey
Release Date:  September 1, 2015
Published by Disney Hyperion
Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

When I first heard about Hunter, I knew I wanted to read it for several reasons. First, it's by Mercedes Lackey, and I've never read anything by her. (I know, I know! But I've just started to love fantasy books in the past couple of years.) Second, MULTIPLE WORLDS/UNIVERSES. Third, MONSTERS. Fourth, a mountain girl. Fifth, HIGH FANTASY WITH REALITY TV. This kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games, but in a very cool way. I NEED TO READ THIS, guys.

What book are you waiting on?  Let me know, or leave a link to your WoW post in the comments, and I'll try to stop by your blog! 
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