Blogtober Book Review: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

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GoodReads Summary:
Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.
THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.
WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?
WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.
WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.
A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)Review:
I’m honestly not sure how to put into words how much I loved this book. I fell so head over heels in love with these characters and their stories. I really don’t know how I’m going to explain my feelings.
Let’s start with Lila. She’s my new all-time favorite female character. She’s pretty morally grey and I loved every minute of it. She’s selfish with her happiness and does literally whatever she can to grab it and keep it. I absolutely loved her and Kell together.
Kell really solidified his place in my heart in this book. He’s really struggling with the battle of his own happiness versus doing what’s best for the crown. He feels like a piece of property more than a person. But he really works through this in this book and it was so good. I love Kell and I’m sad we didn’t get to learn more about his past.
Like book two, we got to see more of Rhy and I loved it. I really loved his conflict of emptiness. I’m leaving this vague because of spoilers. But his struggle was interesting and heart wrenching. I love him so much. Most of Rhy’s parts were filled with his bravery and passion to be the best leader for his people that he can. He dealt with so much loss, my heart really hurt for him.
Then there’s Alucard. My wonderful pirate. I loved him so much. He’s made to be this all-knowing guy, but he’s so much more than that. He’s complex and caring. He has so much love in him, but he can’t show it. He plays many roles (much like Lila) and I loved all of them. I also totally loved his relationship with Rhy. They have a complicated history, but that just made it even better.
Now for my favorite, Holland. There’s just something about Holland that I really loved. I thought he was so fascinating. I don’t know what it was, but I looked forward to the parts of the story he was in. I especially loved the flashbacks that we got. I thought his story was such a good one and came to a beautiful conclusion.
Overall, I loved this book so much. The world is incredible. The link between all the Londons. The very complicated relationship between the three Antari was so interesting. I just genuinely loved everything about this story. I’m excited to read more in this world as I’ve heard she’s writing more and we will get these characters again. Excuse me while I scream.

Quotes:

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

“Magic made everything feel so impermanent, it was easy to forget that some things, once changed, could never be undone. That not everything was either changeable or infinite. Some roads kept going, and others had an end.”

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

“Myths do not happen all at once. They do not spring forth whole into the world. They form slowly, rolled between the hands of time until their edges smooth, until the saying of the story gives enough weight to the words—to the memories—to keep them rolling on their own. But all stories start somewhere, and that night, as Rhy Maresh walked through the streets of London, a new myth was taking shape.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

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GoodReads Summary:
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)Review:
I just finished this book and I really would just like to leave the Earth or completely cease existing because of the final page. I am so mad at Victoria Schwab for the final chapter of A Gathering of Shadows. But, let me back up to the beginning of this book.
I loved this book. I had a hard time the first 200 pages or so, but that was my issue and not actually related to the book. I was still interested in the characters, the story, and the world while reading, but I just wasn’t having the burning desire to pick it up. This quickly changed the further into the story I got.
I’m still very fascinated by this world. I’m loving the small changes we got to see with Grey London and the very extreme changes with White London. I’m so interested to see how it’s all going to come together in book three.
I really try not to swear too much in my reviews, but I fucking love Lila Bard. She might be my all-time favorite female character. I love that she carves her own place in this new world she’s chosen. She makes hard choices for herself and owns every single one of those choices. I just really love everything about her. She’s sassy, smart as hell, and will literally kill you if you cross her. What’s not to love?
Kell, my poor baby Kell. I really didn’t like him all that much in book one, but now I love him very much. By the end of book one, I grew to love him. So, this book was easier in the beginning because I already loved Kell. He’s treated like crap by his so-called parents (the king and queen). I really hated them in this book. They treat Kell like his life only matters now that he is tied to Rhy and that really made me mad. Kell is struggling with his new bond to Rhy. I really felt for him.
Let’s talk about Rhy. After reading this book, I feel like we didn’t get to see Rhy at all in A Darker Shade of Magic. But in book two, we get so much more. We get to know him better as Kell’s brother, as a future king, just overall as a character. I really enjoyed this because in the last book it felt like we just got to know him from Kell’s thoughts and opinions.
We also get to meet a few new characters. One of which is Alucard, the captain of the ship Lila managed to get on when book one ends. I really loved him. He called Lila out countless times and it makes me screech every time. I loved the mystery surrounding him. I also loved the romance in his past and I hope it’s renewed because I love both of them so much. I cannot wait to see what kind of role he plays in the last book.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved it significantly more than the first and I will be starting the third as soon as I finish this review. So, I’m going to wrap it up so I can get reading. I loved the world, the characters, all the little bits and pieces that Schwab brought together. Though I totally am still mad about the ending.

Quotes:

“I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.”

“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”

“If anyone could make the strange seem ordinary, the impossible look easy, it was Delilah Bard”

“Perhaps power had to be tended, like Tieren said, but not all things grew in gardens. Plenty of plants grew wild. And Lila had always thought of herself more as a weed than a rose bush.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

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GoodReads Summary:
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.
A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)Review:
I’m going to start this review with a little back story. I recently rearranged my bookshelves (like three times before I got them to where I wanted them). I separated the books that I’ve read and the ones that I still haven’t read. Then I went further and organized them by age range (middle-grade, young adult, and adult). This made it very clear that my unread books were very unbalanced in the sense of age ranges. I have way more adult books that I haven’t read than either of the others. So, in my journey to work on getting my physical TBR down, I’ve decided to try to focus on my adult books so that I can get my TBR a little more balanced again. I feel like I’m making small goals to work toward the bigger goal. So, A Darker Shade of Magic was the first book I’ve picked up to work toward this. I’ve had A Darker Shade of Magic on my shelf for an embarrassingly long time. I’ve tried to pick it up so many times, and I even almost DNF’d it this most recent time.
Okay, now for the review. I was going to start off by saying that the world-building was my favorite part of the story, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the characters were just as much a favorite part of this story. The concept of there being four different London’s was so interesting. Though I still have questions. Is there magic in the whole world of Londons that have magic? Is London the only commonality of these four worlds? Will we get to see more of any of the worlds in the next books? The parts of the world that we see was so interesting, but I’m still a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see Black London. The world was so intricate and complex, the way the four London’s connect but also are so different from one another. I’m very excited to continue the series and see more of these London’s.
The characters were amazing. I wasn’t really sold on this book until I met Lila. I love Lila with my whole heart. She’s a thief, that mostly dresses as a man. I loved how fiery and strong-willed she is. I loved her dream of being a pirate. I loved her ‘take no shit’ attitude. She doesn’t let anyone tell her what she can and cannot do. It wasn’t until I met Lila that I really started to like Kell. I thought he was interesting, sure, but until he and Lila started interacting, I didn’t really care. Once he and Lila have a plan and start working toward their goal, I cared a lot. These two were really the best. Their personalities are so different but they complement each other in the best ways.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m very excited to pick up book two. I think the book was filled with an incredible world and characters that will make you love them, even if you don’t want to at first.

Quotes:

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

“Hesitation is the death of advantage.”

“He would see her again. He knew he would. Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time they were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila felt like a pin in Kell’s world. One he was sure to snag on.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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Summary:
Magneto and Professor X.
Superman and Lex Luthor.
Sydney and Serena Clarke.
Victor Vale and Eli Ever.
Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.
But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her newfound power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous Eos, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.
With Marcella’s ride, new enmities create opportunities—and the stage of Merit will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.
Vengeful (Villains, #2)Review:
Let’s talk about disappointment. I loved the first book, Vicious, but this sequel was not what I wanted. I didn’t like the ending at all. But let’s back up and start with the things I did like about the book.
I loved the fast pace that never slowed. I wanted to fly through this story. I ate it up, dying to know how things were going to end. I loved the way that the chapters were set up. They go back and forth between years ago, months ago, weeks ago, and hours ago. I think this was a really interesting way to tell the story. We get the characters history and learn more about them. Though, I wanted to learn more about Victor.
I really liked the insight we got into Eli’s past. We learn how he became the way that he is. I thought that was a great addition to the story. It added some humanity to this villain. Then there’s our newest villain, Marcella. She was a lady I could get behind. She’s got big dreams and doesn’t give a damn who tries to stand in her way. Of course, there’s the original crew, Victor and Sydney and Mitch. Sydney is my favorite and I hope to see big things from her in the future. I think she is constantly underestimated. Mitch is a big softie and I love him. But he’s also the brains which makes me adore him even more. Victor was a little annoying because he’s on a search for something, but never manages to find it.
Now, the ending. I did not like this. It was left so open ended and nothing was concluded. It wasn’t until I finished this book and checked GoodReads that I realized there was going to be another book in the series. So, I was sad not to have all of the loose ends tied up.
Overall, I still enjoyed reading this. I mostly just wanted Victor and Eli to make up and be best friends again the whole time. I cannot wait to see what will happen in the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Summary:
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Vicious (Villains, #1)Review:
I’m down to my final two books for the BookTube SFF Awards and they are Vicious and Vengeful. After finishing Vicious, I’m extremely excited to read the sequel and see where things end up for these characters.
I enjoyed this book so much more than I was expecting to. I’ve heard quite a few vague synopses and I’m glad that it was left vague. I’m glad I didn’t know anything going into the story. The plot was fast paced and exciting. I was dying with the suspense between knowing what was going to happen and finding out what had happened in the past. I really think Schwab did an incredible job with the flashbacks and alternating chapters in this book.
The characters were my favorite part. Victor was fascinating. Dark and mysterious, with a past we waited to learn. His only motivation was revenge. He was darker than I expected. His powers, his motivations, but he also had a kind heart. You could tell by the strays that he acquired. He was compelling and though we learned most of his history I feel like we could have learned more through other interactions, but we learned what was necessary to the story. I would have liked to see what he was like around his parents or something like that.
Mitch was the big lump. He was the one that everyone assumed was the muscle when he was actually the brains. I loved this. He defied the stereotype of being big and dumb, though being smart didn’t seem to keep him out of trouble. He also has a huge heart and I just adored him, especially his interactions with Sydney.
Then there’s Sydney. I wasn’t sure of her role in the story for a while, but it made sense once we learned her history. I wished that she had played a bigger role aside from her ability because I really liked her.
Our Villain, Eli, was so likable at first and then so hateable by the end. That’s really it, I don’t want to say more. I hated him. I also hated Serena, Sydney’s sister.
Overall, I enjoyed this way more than I anticipated and I cannot wait to get into the next book to see where things end up.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Books on My Fall 2018 TBR.
top 10 tuesday
1. The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin – I’ve heard so many good things about these books. I bought them recently and I really want to get around to reading them.
2. The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead – The third and final book in The Glittering Court series I’m excited to pick this one up and see where Tamsin’s story takes us.
3. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare – I’m rereading all of Clare’s books before Queen of Air and Darkness comes out in December.
4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – With all the bloggers that rant and rave about this book and the rest of the series I’m a little ashamed to say I haven’t read it yet. I have all of them but haven’t managed to pick them up for some reason.
5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – Another book that my fellow bloggers have brought to my attention. It’s sitting on my shelf begging me to pick it up.
6. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – I’m rereading this series since buying the final book, War Storm. Glass Sword is next up for this series.
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I’m due for a reread of the series. I just had a baby so I think I’m going to read them out loud to my daughter, an attempt to make her a baby Potterhead.
8. The Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas – I bought this book of novellas, finally. I’m not ready for the heartbreak it’s going to cause but it’s on the list.
9. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – Another book of novellas that I’m super excited to dive into.
10. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Bookstagram led me to this series. I’ve heard mixed reviews but I really think I’m going to like it.

What books are on you TBR list for the upcoming season?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Magical Readathon – O.W.L. Exams TBR

Hi bookworms, Amanda here! I was recently scrolling through Twitter when I saw Books in the Skye share something about a readathon based on the N.E.W.T exams from the Harry Potter books. I did a little more digging and saw that I sadly missed out on the O.W.L exam readathon, hosted over on YouTube by Book Roast, that took place originally in April. I decided that I could either skip the O.W.L.s and just take whatever N.E.W.T.s I felt like doing or I could do the O.W.L. exams anyway. I have decided that I’m going to take the O.W.L. exams anyway. So I will start this challenge tomorrow, August 2nd, and I will try to complete as many exams as I can until the 29th.

owls tbr

The following grades are awarded for the overall OWLs performance:

 

Pass

Outstanding – sit and pass at least 5 OWLs
Exceeded Expectations – sit and pass at least 3 OWLs
Acceptable – sit and pass at least 2 OWLs

Fail

Poor – sit only one OWL
Dreadful – start but not finish any OWLs tasks
Troll – do not show up at your OWLs examinations

Ancient Runes – A book with a symbol on the cover

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (print book)

the wicked deep

Arithmacy – A Book with a number on the cover or in the title

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti (print book)

zeroes

Astronomy – A science fiction novel

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (print book)

this mortal coil

Care of Magical Creatures – A book that includes magical creatures or features magical creatures on the cover

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling (print book)

hp - sorcerers stone

Charms – A fantasy novel

A Darker Shade of Magic  by V.E. Schwab (print book)

ADSOM

Defense Against the Dark Arts – A book about or with a secret society or club

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (print book)

city of bones

Divination – A book featuring prophecies 

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (ebook)

shadow of the fox

Herbology – A book with a nature-related word in the title 

Air Awakens by Elise Kova (ebook)

air awakens

History of Magic – A historical fiction novel

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (audiobook)

my lady jane

Muggle Studies – A muggle non-fiction novel

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audiobook)

yes please

Potions – A book with or about alchemy 

Allies by Bella Forrest (ebook)

allies

Transfiguration – A book with transfiguration / shapeshifting or a book with a cat on the cover

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (audiobook)

paranormalcy

I don’t expect to read all of these books but I’m someone that does well with options so I wanted to give myself a variety of books to choose from throughout this reading challenge. I’m going to aim to read at least five of these books. Wish me luck!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.