The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Summary: Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

Review: This book was a little hard for me to get into. Mostly I think it’s because I started it on audiobook and didn’t much like the narrator. The voices she gave the characters were weird and hard to differentiate between. Several times, I thought one character was speaking and it turned out it was someone else. It was almost as if the narrator forgot which voice she assigned to who and kept mixing them up.
Luckily I decided to switch over to Kindle and liked the story much better after that.
Ceony annoyed me a little at first. It seemed like she was alternately very intelligent or very naive, whichever was convenient to the story at the time. For instance, she worked crazy hard to finish years of schooling in just one year but then when Thane gives her a few books to read for “homework”, she complains about all the work. I found this ridiculous. If she managed to finish what’s basically a college degree in one year, then she would have no qualms about a little reading. It seemed to me that, because she’s supposed to hate her apprenticeship, Holmberg just made her complain about everything whether it was realistic or not. After a while she got better about it though and Ceony became I character I actually liked.
Emery Thane was fun. Unfortunately we didn’t get to know him as much as we normally would. For the better part of the book, Ceony’s basically walking through his memories but we don’t see him for real. It sort of gave us random glimpses of his character but it made it awkward for me to form real opinions about him.
Also the (potential) romance between them felt extremely forced to me, especially because everything happens in such a short amount of time. I’m hoping that gets better in the next book.
Despite not necessarily wanting the characters to be my best friends, I would like this book solely for the magic. In this world, magicians can control man-made substances; they bond to one substance in particular and that’s the only one they can ever work with. Ceony and Thane are paper magicians. She doesn’t want to be a Folder, they’re looked down on by other magicians because it’s not considered very useful. I loved watching Ceony slowly learn all of the amazing things she can do with paper. It’s an extremely unique magic system that I loved reading about.
Then Holmberg also made a dark side to the magic. Someone once figured out that since humans are technically man-made, they could be controlled by magic and Excision was created. These evil magicians use blood and flesh to control and torture people. It added a seriously dark aspect to an otherwise fun storyline.
Overall this was a very interesting read. I wouldn’t call it a favorite but I am excited to see where the rest of the series takes me. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories about magic. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows. I’ve heard so many good things about it and so far they’re all true. I’m currently listening to Yes Please by Amy Poehler.

Antonia- Technically I haven’t started it yet, but Amanda and I recently received copies of The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey from the author in exchange for our reviews. I’m really excited to start this dystopian/paranormal; I’d gotten a little sick of dystopians recently because it feels like they keep following the same patterns after awhile but this one sounds so unique (especially when you add in vampires??).

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently finished reading Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. It was super interesting and I liked it very much. Keep an eye out for my review later this month!

Antonia- I just finished The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. It exceeded my expectations and I’m excited for the rest of the series. My review will post tomorrow.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next I think I’m going to read Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. I think I’m also going to start Allies by Bella Forrest on my Kindle in the next few days.

Antonia- I have so many books to read! I think I’ll either start Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones or catch up on The Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series by Linsey Hall.

Thanks for reading the W’s we came up with this week. What are your answers? Feel free to leave them in the comments or leave us a link to your post.

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m still working on getting through Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa on my Kindle. I haven’t picked it up since last week, but I’ll probably finish it in the next few days. I’m listening to American Gods by Neil Gaiman as I type this. I’m over halfway through and still somehow have six hours left. I’m also reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I finally picked it up and I’m glad I did because it’s super interesting and I’m only less than fifty pages in.

Antonia- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I cannot stop with this series. I blew through the first two books in a couple days and will probably read this last one just as quickly. I’m so glad Amanda practically threw these books at me.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I just yesterday finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I’m doing a reread of the series so I can finally read the last book that came out this year.

Antonia- I just finished A Court of Mist and Fury. I read this 600-something-page book in about a day. It was amazing. Expect to see my reviews of this series soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- After I finish Big Little Lies I will probably pick up Glass Sword, the second book in the Red Queen Series. I have quite a few books on my TBR list for this month but I don’t know what order I’m going to read them yet.

Antonia- I’m not sure. I barely started listening to the audiobook for The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg but got distracted by the ACOTAR series. There’s also a couple new books in The Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series by Linsey Hall that I’m excited to read. But I still have a bunch of new books from my haul from Book Outlet that I need to read so it’ll all depend on my mood when I finish my current read.

Thanks for reading! What are your W’s this week?

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Best of 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten best books I’ve read in 2018 (so far). I’m excited about this one because I have a post on other social media where I post the best book I read each month. I’m obviously only through June so here I can add a few more! Here’s my list of the ten best books I’ve read so far this year.

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1. Air Awakens by Elise Kova – I found this as a boxed set on my Kindle so it was like reading one giant book even though it was five books. This series made me laugh and cry and It’s only been a few months since I read it and I already want to read it again.
2. Moon Chosen & Sun Warrior by P.C. Cast – It honestly took me forever to actually read these but they were AMAZING and I can’t wait until Windrider comes out in October.
3. Scythe & Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – This was an incredibly creative story. I’m excited to see where the third book takes these characters.
4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer – Superheros, duh!
5. The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg – I loved all of these books, even the fourth that has different characters in the same word. The world is so interesting and well thought out and just incredible.
6. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson – I found this book in the ‘popular books’ section of my Kindle Unlimited subscription and thought it sounded interesting. Boy was it. The plot in this story was so confusing and funny and heart wrenching all at the same time somehow.
7. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas – The newest book (novella) in my favorite series, so yeah, it obviously makes this list.
8. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – It was such an emotional and just all around powerful story. I didn’t think I was going to like this book nearly as much as I did.
9. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I was so surprised by this book. I thought this was one that was overly hyped and it wasn’t really ever on my TBR list. But I found it at the library and said why not. I’m glad I gave it a chance because this story blew me away.
10. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts – My first audiobook ever. I’ve been super excited for this book to be released because Nora is an auto-buy author for me. I honestly hadn’t even read the synopsis. So when I started listening and the mall shooting happened, I balled my eyes out for the first like half an hour that I was listening.

These are the top ten books that are my favorites for the year so far. I chose to only list books that I read for the first time this year, otherwise, my favorite series would overtake this list. What books are your favorites for 2018 so far?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Summer TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books to read by the pool/ at the beach OR it can also serve as your summer TBR. For me, beach reads are just whatever I happen to be reading at the time so I’ll be doing the latter. In no particular order:

  1. The Gender Games by Bella Forrest- Amanda’s talked so much about this and her other series The Girl Who Dared that I think I finally need to see what all the excitement’s about.
  2. Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen- This is one that I see every once in awhile and am like, “Oh I should read that” and then I never do. It sounds amazing and I’d really like to finally read it.
  3. Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg- Another one Amanda was telling me about. I just downloaded it on my Kindle so I should get to it soon.
  4. The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima- I just got the second and third books finally and can’t wait to finally revisit these characters.
  5. The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie- I recently got into her books and am excited to read the second of the Hercule Poirot novels.
  6. The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout- I read the first book forever ago but somehow never finished the series. I’ve loved all of her books so I’d like to finally read this one.
  7. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts- This is her newest standalone mystery and I planning on buying it soon. I always love her books so I know this one will be a new favorite.
  8. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke- Amanda and I happened to be talking about this the other day and it made me sad that I never actually read it. This book’s been sitting on my shelf since I was a child and I think it’s about time I did.
  9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore- It’s been forever since I read this, Fire, and Bitterblue. I loved these books so much and would really like to revisit these characters.
  10. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon- Amanda just read and reviewed this one and it sounded so good I had to add it to my list. You can read her review here.

Thanks for reading! What are your Top Ten?

-Antonia