My Thoughts on – A Darker Shade of Magic

I thought I might change up the way I review books since it’s been 2 years since I’ve written one.

My thoughts tend to be scattered a lot when I’m reviewing so I think I might make it less formal and see if it helps me get things out of my head.

Also, since this book has been around a while, I feel like maybe it doesn’t really need much of a review. Most people who read a lot of fantasy have probably heard of it.

If you haven’t… A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab check it out here.

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I’ve had this on my radar for a while, I’ve checked it out from the library several times, I own an ebook and an audiobook version… there’s really no reason for it to have taken me this long to read.

I think it was intimidation, it’s a very hyped book series, I don’t know many people who don’t rave about it. So I decided that 2019 was going to be the year I give it a shot.

I have read several of Victoria Schwab’s books, her YA stuff anyway. I read The Archived duology and the Monsters of Verity duology as well. Both of these were the same story, I loved the 1st books and then the sequels were disappointing. So I’m a little on the fence about this author being for me.

I wanted to give this a shot though… here’s my thoughts on the first book…

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The main characters: Lila and Kell were both very interesting. They we decently developed and had interesting backstories. I did like Lila a bit more than Kell, I felt like he was a little harder to connect to and I didn’t empathize with him as much. However, I did end up liking them both a lot.

The multiple Londons: This was a cool idea, I kind of knew about this concept from hearing people talk about the book for so long but it didn’t end up being like I expected it to be. I wanted to know a little more about the white and especially black Londons and I’m hoping that if I continue with the series that we’ll get more on those. Red London felt a little more like the Gray one with magic in it which is cool but I would have liked to know more about all of them.

The magic system: This one is tricky… I don’t feel like I understand it a whole lot. The Antari we’re explained in some detail but the story didn’t really expand a lot on how some of the other magic works… there was some info dumping right in the beginning about White London and the way they’ve used up so much magic by not giving back… but I was really very interested in the idea that magic was elemental and I would love to know how that works in the world also… again, hoping there’s more about other magics in the sequels. I love Kell and he’s very powerful, but he’s not the only one with magic…

Pacing: This is a slow burn story, not a whole lot happened in the 400 or so pages of the story. There were a few action type scenes but most of the story is just following the main characters around while they walk around and talk to people… it was a little annoying.

Ending: Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it for you… I’m just going to say that the ending lacked a bit for me personally… the reason being that it wrapped up this story was too nicely. There was a tiny hint that something else might be happening but really all the ends seemed to tie themselves up in a little bow. I honesty felt like if I didn’t continue with the sequels that I could just count this as a stand-alone and not be mad about it. That’s not really how I wanted the first in a fantasy series to end… so this one is more of a personal want and not something I’d count against the story.

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All in all, I ended up giving it 3.5 stars and I’m still on the fence about reading the other two books… if you’ve read this series, let me know if you think I should and if they get more interesting? I’m curious, I did love Kell and Lila but if the other two are as slow as this one I might not get through them.

Jody ๐Ÿ’œ

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Lostathon Round 3

Hey, hey fellow book dragons!

It’s that time again for Lostathon 3.0 Winter Edition ๐Ÿ™‚

This round will be for the month of February, 2019!

The goals are the same, any 5 challenges will fill you shelf and complete the readathon.

All the challenges are stackable, you can read 5 books for 5 challenges or fit one book for 5 challenges etc. It’s really up to you

Be sure to check out Our Lost Library for games and challenges throughout the month and follow my Twitter cause I will be doing random sprints too!

Be sure to use the hashtag #OurLostLibrary when you post so we can chat and see what everyone is reading!

So of course we need the board ๐Ÿ˜‰

The challenges…

    New Year, New Book, a Gifted Book: This is a book you received as a gift.
    Long Term TBR: A book that’s been on your shelf for too long
    Less Than 250 pages: Quick Read
    Finish a Book that You’ve Started and Put Down: This could be a DNF you want to give another go or a book you were in the middle of and never finished for any reason.
    Discounted Discoveries: A book you got on sale.
    Female Author: I think this one is easy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Finish a Series: Finish the last book, finish the last few books or start and binge a whole series.
    Historical Conversations: Books featuring a time in history that make you think.
    Classic with a Twist: Retellings of a classic story.
    Deadly Relationships: Domestic thriller, paranormal romances etc.
    Diverse Graphic Novel: Self explanatory, this also includes any kind of Manga or Comic Books… if it has pictures and it’s diverse, it counts.
    Twenty Somethings in Space: Sci Fi featuring characters in their 20s.
    Free Choice… Get Creative!
    Female Fantasy: A fantasy featuring Female characters.
    Middle Grade Retelling: Fairy tale or mythology retelling in the middle grade genre
    Faith, Courage or Strength in the Synopsis: If it talks about anything pertaining to one or all of these 3 things in the synopsis of the story, it counts.
    Red on the Book: February is Heart Health Month, so read a book with red anywhere on the cover.
    TBR Jar Pick: If you have a TBR jar, pick one at random for this. I personally have a wrapped TBR so I’ll be choosing one at random to unwrap.
    Buddy Read: Read a book with a friend!
    New to You Genre: A book in a genre you’ve never read before or one that you’d don’t often gravitate towards.
    Love Triangle: Any book featuring multiple love interests.
    Mystery Genre Pick: Have someone choose a genre for you… can be a random choice, a twitter poll or someone just giving you one.
    More Than 350 Pages: Challenge accepted!
    Book Rec from OLL (OurLostLibrary): You can ask on Twitter and we can retweet to get a recommendation from an Our Lost Library follower.
    Passion Project: A book about something you’re passionate about. If you’re really into photography, read a book about photography or where the main character loves photography etc.

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I have personally chosen 5 books for 5 challenges this time. Since my books are wrapped, I’m crossing my fingers that I will unwrap the right ones lol

My choices are…

TBR/Unwrapping: This is a random choice but I’m hoping the one I took off the shelf ends up being The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo because I’ve been wanting to read it soon.

Diverse Graphic Novel: I’m planning to unwrap Vol. 3 of The Wicked and The Divine.

Buddy Read: LetsBookAboutIt and I will be either be reading Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee or The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, we haven’t decided which one yet.

New to You Genre: For this I will be reading my first Manga… I only own one so I knew I won’t accidentally unwrap anything I’m not in the mood for lol. My choice for this one is the first one in the Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? By Fujino ลŒmori and art by Kunieda

Love Triangle: I’m hoping I chose right and will unwrap Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell which could also count or Gifted Book because this was a gift from my #OTSPsecretsister a couple months ago. I love Peter Pan retellings, it was very fitting. Anyways, I believe it has a love triangle but either way, it counts for a book on my shelf ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me know if you’re participating and what your TBR choices are for the challenges! Lets get reading friends, this will be the best Lostathon yet!

Jody ๐Ÿ’œ

Hello 2019!

Holy moly, has it been a while or what! I haven’t updated this blog in almost a year. The last post was about Lostathon with my buddy LetsBookAboutIt, which plug time… we’re doing again in February, yay!

I guess I will go ahead and just catch up on what’s been happening and my 2018 reading…

2017 was basically my year to catch up and finish series that I started, I really did accomplish that goal at the time too which was nice! I was proud of that. However, it didn’t really give me a lot of new content. I was reading stories I already loved but didn’t necessarily have a lot to talk about unless it was with people who had read those series as well.

2018 I participated in the first #TheUnreadShelfProject2018. I started the year with 97 books, and the main goal of the project was to read books off your owned TBR.

I started off really strong, I got real with myself and I took some tips from the Konmari method of only keeping things that brought me joy or made me excited. I culled a lot of books off my shelf, I gave a lot to charity or a couple friends of mine who are English teachers.

I actually ended up taking my classics collection out of this number, I knew I would not get to these in the near future and at the end of 2018 I actually ended up getting rid of all but 5 of those as well. These 5 books and the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson were the only ones I started with at the beginning of the year that I still had unread on my shelf.

I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one… I didn’t think I could do it but I did… Now the downside to this… I put myself in a major slump, I ended up DNFing quite a few books last year… so while I made my goal and I’m ok with letting those books go without finishing them, I feel like I pushed myself a little too hard.

Now here we are in 2019! New year, same me to be honest lol…

I’m participating in #TheUnreadShelfProject2019 again this year but I don’t feel as daunted by it this time.

My starting TBR was 17 books, 8 sequels which puts me at 25 books… I think I can handle that ๐Ÿ˜Š

I actually plan to take things slow, I have already filled out my reading bullet journal for all 12 months and I’ve only put 5 slots a month for my reading… I’m going to take it easy, read what I want and not push myself to finish any more than that.

So if I do 5 books a month, that’s only 60 for this year… I’ve only set my Goodreads goal to 25 though, I really don’t feel like pushing myself this year. Anything over that 25 will just be me being an overachiever ๐Ÿ™ˆ

I’d also like to re-read a lot this year. I haven’t really made time to do this and I’m missing some of my favorite stories.

Speaking of, I’m tentatively planning to re-read the first 3 Witchlands books by Susan Dennard in March and then read Bloodwitch right after. Bloodwitch comes out on February 12 but I’m participating in the 3rd version of Lostathon for that month so I had to push it back. I’ve already got my 5 books for that readathon picked out so I wouldn’t be able to fit in 4 high fantasy novels on top of it ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Also in April, one of my favorite authors is releasing a new book. The Ravenโ€™s Tale by Cat Winters releases on April 16, so maybe I’ll have a Cat Winters themed month in April and re-read a couple of my favorites by her also…

If you’re interested in joining me for any of my readathons or re-reads in the next few months, let me know! I would defiantly be down for having a group chat about some favorites ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you’ve all been well, I might be in a place where I can start posting thoughts on this blog more often… it would be nice to start doing it again ๐Ÿ™‚

Peace, love and happiness… Jody ๐Ÿ’œ

Lost-A-Thon Announcement

Lost-a-thon

April 1-30, 2018

Welcome to #OurLostLibrary Lost-A-Thon where you create your own personal bookshelf! Choose 5 Challenges from our Bookshelf Board (at random) and complete them for the win!

It takes 5ย  challenges to complete a shelf. If you would like to fill multiple shelves, you can! You can even choose more than one challenge for a book and really go for it. Ex: I have chosen 5 books for my TBR that combined meet 23 of the 25 challenges! You could also choose more than 5 books, this is a really laid back read-a-thon.

I’ll go into more details about the challenges down below.

This is a Month Long Read-A-Thon. So sit back & enjoy! Here are the rules…

1. #OurLostLibrary is all about making old books new again. So for this Read-A-Thon, choose books already on your shelf or from your local library.

2. Post your TBR on social media using Booktube, your Blog or Instagram. (We will also be hosting Book Chats on Twitter) Donโ€™t forget the hashtag #OurLostLibrary so we can find out what you are reading, catch your updates & spread the word!

3. Challenges ARE stack-able. This means that 1 book could meet 2 or more challenges!๐Ÿ˜ We want this to be as FUN & EASY as possible!

4. You donโ€™t have to be followingย @OurLostLibrary to join in. Of course we WANT you to follow, but you donโ€™t need to be. Everyone is included.

5. Lastly, create a Wrap-Up video/photo or post book reviews for each book you complete. Use the hashtag #OurLostLibrary so we can find them. The idea behind this…so we can easily find book reviews for โ€œolderโ€ books. By typing in one simple hashtag, they will all be at our fingertips. Now we can find our next favorite book!

We’ll be on Twitter during April to chat about what we’re reading so be sure to follow us there @OurLostLibrary!
Thanks for joining us!!

Challenges

  1. Book Collecting Cobwebs: This is basically a book you’ve had on your shelf for way too long.
  2. 500+ Page Book: Just any book that has more than 500 pages ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. >250 pages: This is a quick read, any book that has less than 250 pages. It could be a novella or a graphic novel. Whatever you have on your shelf that is small.
  4. Jumped Out at You: This is almost another free space, just look at your shelves and pick out a book that you just really want to read.
  5. Library Book: Any book from your library, all formats count!
  6. Favorite Author: Easy peasy, a book by an author you already love.
  7. Retelling: Self explanatory ๐Ÿ™‚
  8. Diverse Book: Any book that is diverse to you.
  9. Book from a series: This could be the first in a series or a sequel to one you’re in the process of reading. If it’s part of a series, it counts.
  10. Book with Magic: Any book featuring magic in any form.
  11. Buddy Read: Have some fun with a friend and read a book together!
  12. Favorite of a Friend: Any book that a friend loves, or you could ask for a recommendation from a friend.
  13. Free Choice: Any book, just read!
  14. Book you got on sale: This could be a Book Outlet buy, a clearance buy, a book you got during a sale, an on-sale ebook/audiobook etc.
  15. Mystery or Thriller: Anything from either genre ๐Ÿ™‚
  16. Beautiful Cover: We all know this community loves the covers, just read one that you find beautiful.
  17. Female Author: A book written by a woman!
  18. Recently added to your shelf: Anything you’ve purchased or received in the last month.
  19. New to you Author: An author you’ve never read before, could be a debut or an author with a ton of books that you just haven’t read yet.
  20. Re-read: This is a fun one, re-read a book you love.
  21. Middle Grade Book: Anything that is considered Middle Grade counts for this!
  22. Best Seller: A book that has been on any best seller list anywhere, NY Times, USA Today, Amazon etc.
  23. Award Winner: A book that has won an award in any catagory.
  24. Author from outside the USA: This should be a book from an author who is from another country outside the USA.
  25. Book written by 2 authors: Any book with 2 authors, an author and a contributor, whatever you feel fits this category ๐Ÿ™‚

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We really hope that you’ll join us in April, get some books off your shelf and read some really great books!

Links below to Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

Our Lost Library Twitter

Host – LetsBookAboutIt Twitter

Our Lost Library Instagram

Host – LetsBookAboutIt Instagram

Our Lost Library Goodreads Group

That One Girl Who Reads Instagram

 

Speed of Life – review

Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly

Star Rating โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ 3/5 Stars

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Young Adult, Contempory, Social/Family Issues

Big thank you to NetGalley and HMH Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Synopsis: Crystal and her twin sister, Amber, have a plan for their lives. They’re going to work hard, make some money and take care of their baby, Natalie, until Crystal receives an opportunity she can’t pass up and derails everything.

My Thoughts (no spoilers)

First, I’ll start with the things I liked about it and move on to what I didn’t.

I loved the character of Crystal, she felt very real to me. She had an interesting passion with cars and restoring them and it was unique and unusual to see that. With what I do know about old cars, the author really made an effort to make it authentic.

I also liked the bond that Crystal and Amber had, as twin sisters, they really looked out for each other and balanced each other’s needs well. They both worked really hard to take care of Natalie. 

The story was easy to read, it only lagged a little in the middle where it seems like nothing was happening but I never felt like not picking it up. It was a pretty quick read for me.

Unfortunately, it didn’t blow me away, there were some things I didn’t enjoy about it that kept it from giving it more stars.

I felt like everything was wrapped up too perfectly. The life that they grew up in would suggest that things should have been a little harder for them, it seemed to me like both girls kept having these perfect things fall right in their laps. Everything just kept working out with very little effort. I found it unbelievable. 

With this being said, the idea that any of the characters in the story would consider dropping out of their senior year of high school with the deal they had going baffled me… 

The male characters in the story annoyed me. I never connected to any of them, they were just kind of there to move the story along but had no real depth or development. Han especially bothered me, mostly towards the end at his acceptance of his situation without question. Maybe it’s because they’re teenagers but I found the whole thing to be wrapped up in a nice bow instead of the messy situation it really was.

Who would I recommend this to: If you love contemporaries, and sweet endings, you’ll probably love this. Also, if you like anything about old cars, this will be a big plus for you!

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If you have any plans to read this, or have read this and want to share thoughts, let me know! I’d love to chat about it

Thanks for reading ๐ŸŒบ

Until next time, bye!

Top 5 Wednesday – August 31

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads Group with weekly topics and it is hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Be sure to check out both those links for all the info.

This weeks topic is Books You Will Not Read… Ever

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1.  Girl Online By Zoe Sugg

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this book and it being ghostwritten, which if you don’t know what that means, it’s when another person writes most of the book with the “author” and usually gets credit for it. I will say I don’t know the specifics with this and if the other person was credited or not but I have no desire to read this. I don’t really know why YouTubers are writing books unless they are actually wanting to be authors, but Zoe Sugg is a fashion blogger so I don’t really get it.

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2. After By Anna Todd

This was a book that was found on Wattpad and published. It was originally a One Direction, specifically inspired by Harry Styles, fan fiction. I have heard it is a very unhealthy relationship, and personally being a One Direction fan, I can’t picture Harry in this story being such an awful person. I could be completely wrong and it’s not even that bad, but I just don’t have a desire to find out. 

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3. The Darkest Power series By Kelley Armstrong

I read the first one in this so long ago, and I really liked it, but I just can’t seem to make myself want to finish this series. It was so long ago and I know I’d have to re-read the first one to remember. Every time I see them for sale I want to pick them up but I never do. I think it’s a sign to give up on this one.

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4. The Asylum series By Madeline Roux

Honestly, I thought the first was so bad that there’s not way you could ever get me to read the others. It was predictable, the photos were fake, the main protagonist was so awkward and said the most unnecessary lines the whole time. I probably should have DNFed it.

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5. Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined By Stephanie Meyer

Seriously… Do I need to explain this one. It’s just an unnecessary story…

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That’s it for this weeks Top 5 Wednesday

What are some books that you will never read?

Thanks for reading!

Until next time, ๐Ÿฆ„

Rapid Fire Book Tag

This tag was originally created by Kate at GirlReading and I was tagged by my lovely friend Michelle at MichEllisLife.

This is just a simple little tag with bookish opinion questions, so here we go ๐Ÿ™‚

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– E-Book or Physical Book?  I prefer physical books because I really love to smell my books while I read them. 

– Paperback or Hardback? Hardback, they’re sturdier.

– Online or In-Store Book Shopping? Online is cheaper, but I like to see the actual copy I’m getting so it really depends on the book I guess.

– Trilogies or Series? Trilogies

– Heroes or Villains? Villains are way more interesting.

– A book you want everyone to read? Any Frances Hardinge book, this needs to happen…

– Recommend an underrated book? Trial by Fire By Josephine Angelini. I have seen so many people unhaul this in videos and posts because they just bought it on a whim and didn’t think they’d ever read it. Please read it! It is so good, it has an amazing world and the characters are interesting. Just stop unhauling this people!  

– The last book you finished? Mystery Girl by Paul Tobin, it’s a graphic novel about a woman who literally knows the answer to any mystery she’s asked about. Pretty crazy, it was pretty good.

– The Last Book You Bought? Half Bad by Sally Green, e-book was on sale, I don’t even know anything about it lol

– Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark? A tissue

– Used Books: Yes or No? If it’s in good condition, it doesn’t matter.

– Top Three Favourite Genres? Fantasy, Thriller, Adventure

– Borrow or Buy? Borrow, then if I love it, buy

– Characters or Plot? Um… Both? I need it to be well rounded.

– Long or Short Books? It doesn’t matter, depends on my mood.

– Long or Short Chapters? Short, please, always short. It just makes my life easier

– Name The First Three Books You Think Of… Between Shades of Gray by Ruth SepetysKenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizziTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

– Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry? Laugh

– Our World or Fictional Worlds? Fictional

– Audiobooks: Yes or No? Yes, all the way

– Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover? Yes…

– Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations? Movies, tv shows never seem to do it justice.

– A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?  The Devil Wears Prada

– Series or Standalone’s? Depends, if the story is good I’d want more but there are some series out there that have been dragged out too much. 

Thanks for the tag Michelle, this was fun!

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Thanks for reading!

Until next time, bye ๐Ÿฏ