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

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Title: A Darker Shade of Magic 
Author: V.E. Schwab
Pages: 398
Genre: Fantasy
Published: February 24, 2015

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Quick Synopsis: Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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. (Goodreads)

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Review: “The Facefaker’s Game” by Chandler J. Birch

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Title: The Facefaker’s Game
Author: Chandler J. Birch
Pages: 464
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Published: November 1, 2016

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Quick Synopsis: Ashes lives in Burroughside—the dirtiest, most crime-ridden district in the huge city of Teranis. His neighbors are gangs of fellow orphans, homeless madmen, and monsters that swarm the streets at nightfall. Determined to escape Burroughside, Ashes spends his days begging, picking pockets, and cheating at cards. When he draws the wrath of Mr. Ragged, Burroughside’s brutal governor, he is forced to flee for his life, only to be rescued by an enigmatic man named Candlestick Jack. Jack leads a group of Artificers, professional magicians who can manipulate light with their bare hands to create stunningly convincing illusions. Changing a face is as simple as changing a hat. Ashes seizes an opportunity to study magic under Jack and quickly befriends the rest of the company: Juliana, Jack’s aristocratic wife; William, his exacting business partner; and Synder, his genius apprentice. But all is not as it seems: Jack and his company lead a double life as thieves, and they want Ashes to join their next heist. Between lessons on light and illusion, Ashes begins preparing to help with Jack’s most audacious caper yet: robbing the richest and most ruthless nobleman in the city. (Goodreads)

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The Best of 2016: Top 10 Books I Read This Year

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Happy Almost-New-Year, everyone! I hope you’ve all been having a lovely holiday season so far and that 2017 treats you well. Looking back at my year of reading has been interesting. This year, my goal was to read 70 books (10 up from 2015), and oh, there were just about 70 books I wanted to read that either came out this year or had been sitting on my shelf for too long. However, I definitely failed to get to that number thanks to all of the pretty horrible slumps I had over the months. I don’t know what caused so many slumps in one year, but I only reached a measly 48 (note: 48 isn’t a bad number. That’s great when compared to the average person. But for an avid reader and blogger it felt like not a lot). Because I only read 48 books, I almost wasn’t sure I would have a ten book long list. I almost just made it my top 5 instead, but the more I perused my Goodreads list, the more titles I wanted to include. So, without any more delay, these are the titles I read and enjoyed the most in 2016. *All except one were released this year.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Want to Finally Read in 2017

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Hey, all! I’ve skipped the last few Top 5 Wednesdays because they were categories I wasn’t totally excited about, but I’m back again now to share with you the top 5 books I want to finally read in 2017. These are all books that I’ve either had on my TBR for ages or are books that have come out awhile ago that I finally want to read. As usual, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is now hosted by Sam. You can find the Goodreads group here. Lastly, these books are in no particular order.
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Spoiler-free Movie Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

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Trailer
Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: PG-13
Run time: 2 hr 13 min

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 Quick Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

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Review: “The Sun Is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon

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Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: November 1, 2016

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Quick Synopsis: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (Goodreads)

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Review: “This Savage Song” by Victoria Schwab

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Title: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Pages: 427
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: July 5, 2016

Buy this book!

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Quick Synopsis: There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books. Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. (Goodreads)

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Non-Canon Ships

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It’s another Wednesday, so you know what that means! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is all about favorite non-canon ships. This means the relationships that you really wanted to happen but didn’t, or couples who were together at a time, but didn’t last. You can choose ships from books, TV, movies, anything. You can even cross-ship two characters from different fandoms. Basically, any ship is open so long as it wasn’t endgame. If you want to participate or learn more about T5W, you can head over to the Goodreads group here.

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Review: “Furthermore” by Tahereh Mafi

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Title: Furthermore
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pages: 416
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Adventure
Published: August 30, 2016

Buy the book!

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Quick Synopsis: There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other. But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. It will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss. (Goodreads)

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Spoiler-Free Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pages: 546
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: September 27, 2016

Buy the book!

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Quick Synopsis: *spoiler warning for book one* Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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