A Darker Shade of Magic//New Favourite Coat

A Darker Shade of Magic//New Favourite CoatA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that 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 take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

I was a little late to the reading of this, but I was sort of afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I’d never read anything by V.E Schwab, so I didn’t know if I’d like her writing or not.

Yeaaaahhhhhh shouldn’t have waited.

I could not put A Darker Shade of Magic down. This was one of those books where if I had 5 minutes to do something, I was picking up this book and cramming in as many pages as possible.

First off, the worlds in this are amazing. I love how each London has a different colour associated with it in Kell’s mind. It made it a lot easier for me to keep track of where he was and who was associated with that London. And too be honest, after I got into it, not once did I mess up the worlds. They were each so vastly different but wove together wonderfully.

Kell is a great character. I found his chapters a little…lighter feeling than Lila’s. He really did take on a sparkle for me like Red London has (was Red London supposed to sparkle in the book or is that just me making shit up as I go?). Whereas Lila felt very grey for me, but in a good way. I could FEEL the smog of Grey London sticking to her clothes. I felt invincible and at ease when I was reading Kell’s chapters, while I felt anxious but determined reading Lila’s. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this intensely for two characters in a book.

And the plot. Mhm. I loved the way V.E worked the plot. It was a simple idea but it had SO MUCH complexity that it gripped me from page one.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so well that, even though I borrowed it from the library, I went out and bought it as soon as I finished it. I plan on rereading it and then reading the sequel. I want more of this world!

I’ll also be checking out some more of V.E Schwab’s work.

Oh, and if anyone could make me a duplicate of Kell’s coat that would be GREAT. K thanks.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

First Grave On The Right//New Fav Urban Fantasy

First Grave On The Right//New Fav Urban FantasyFirst Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 5th 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 338
Goodreads

Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

Daaaaaammmmmmn.

I’ve seen this series over the years, but I never picked it up. Why? I have no idea. Past Mackenzie wasn’t the smartest. Especially since I claim to be such a fan of urban fantasy. You’d think this would have been higher on my tbr list.

HA.

Well, about 100 pages in I decided to buy the rest of the series soooo. I feel like that alone expresses how much I loved this book.

Do me a favour, if you’re unsure about this series, go open this book, turn to a chapter, and read the chapter heading. Just, just read the chapter heading. If it doesn’t make you laugh, then we can’t be friends. If the humour is right up your alley, close the book, walk quickly to the closest cash register, purchase the book, cancel the rest of your plans as you head home and spend the next couple hours devouring this book.

Darynda Jones, your writing is on point. I hope it only gets better from here.

Charley Davidson is hilarious. I love her attitude. I love her sarcasm and sass. I love her job. I love the people she surrounds herself with. I love the ghosts that she sees. I love the ghosts she wishes she didn’t see.

I want a friend like Cookie.

The only thing I was a little…eh…about was Reyes. I knew who he was as soon as he appeared in the book, even though the entire book is about Charley figuring out who he is. So that was a bit of a let down, but I enjoyed the rest of the ride so much that it only let me down a little bit.

I’m excited to see where the rest of this series goes. It better be good. Especially since I’ve dedicated so much shelf space to it. But no pressure or anything.

ALSO. Almost forgot.

The copy I bought was AMAZING. It was hardback, but didn’t have a dust jacket. The cover was printed on the book ends. This is the first book I’ve ever bought like this and it was fantastic. SO much easier than navigating a dust jacket! Why aren’t more books printed like this??

Oh and the font used for this series. On point. So far I know it’s carried into the second book. #booknerdthings

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Conjoined

The ConjoinedThe Conjoined: A Novel by Jen Sookfong Lee
Published by ECW Press on September 13th 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Given for Review
Goodreads

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way altered my opinion of it. Cross my heart.

On a sunny May morning, social worker Jessica Campbell sorts through her mother’s belongings after her recent funeral. In the basement, she makes a shocking discovery — two dead girls curled into the bottom of her mother’s chest freezers. She remembers a pair of foster children who lived with the family in 1988: Casey and Jamie Cheng — troubled, beautiful, and wild teenaged sisters from Vancouver’s Chinatown. After six weeks, they disappeared; social workers, police officers, and Jessica herself assumed they had run away.

As Jessica learns more about Casey, Jamie, and their troubled immigrant Chinese parents, she also unearths dark stories about Donna, whom she had always thought of as the perfect mother. The complicated truths she uncovers force her to take stock of own life.

Moving between present and past, this riveting novel unflinchingly examines the myth of social heroism and traces the often-hidden fractures that divide our diverse cities.

The premise of a woman finding two dead girls in her recently deceased mother’s freezer was too good to pass up. I jumped on the chance to receive an ARC from ECW Press. Thanks guys 🙂

I am SO torn on how to review this wonderful novel. There may be spoilers up ahead, but I will try my best.

Jen Sookfong Lee has wonderful writing and I was hooked from the very beginning. I was pulled into the story and Jessica Campbell’s life that was promptly turned on its head. All I could think was, “what would I do if I found dead bodies in my parents basement and in all likelihood my mom had put them there?” I HAVE NO IDEA. HOW DOES SOMEONE REACT TO THAT?!?!

Too be honest, I think Jen got it 100% right.

Instead of focusing on who killed the girls (which we are lead to assume is Jessica’s mom, who fostered the two girls 20 years ago), the novel focuses on the two girls problems leading up to becoming foster children and the impact that finding them has on Jessica. I loved the flashbacks to Casey and Jamie’s lives. Reading about their upbringing and the unfortunate incidents that lead to them being put into a foster home was heartbreaking. It pulled on my heartstrings SO much.

Reading about the realizations that Jessica comes to as she finds out more about Casey and Jamie was fantastically done for me. Watching the progression in her thinking, especially from thinking her mom was perfect to the realization that she was, in fact, just human, elicited both joy and sadness from me. I felt sad for her because I know how daunting it is to realize that you’re unhappy with everything that is currently in your life. It’s daunting to WANT to change everything, let alone taking a breath and doing it. But I also know the utter joy and freedom that she felt when she let go of all her preconceived notions of what should be and just let go. This part for me was wonderful to read.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone (more than I may or may not have already), but if you’re picking this up thinking it’ll be a good mystery, you might be disappointed. This is definitely more a character study than a fast-paced thriller but it was still a fantastic read.

I docked it a half star because I’m a little upset with the ending. But I would still pick this up if I were you!!

The Conjoined is being released today so HAPPY BIRTHDAY and congrats Jen for writing such a fabulous book! 🙂

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

A Court of Thorns and Roses//Worth The Hype

A Court of Thorns and Roses//Worth The HypeA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury on May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads

She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I’m sort of upset with myself for not reading this sooner. There was soooooo much hype around A Court of Thorns and Roses that I was all “naaaahhhh can’t be that good”. Well, current Mackenzie wishes she could shake past Mackenzie. This was definitely worth the hype.

I started off not liking Feyre (Fay-ruh) at all. I thought her name was pronounced fairy, which I thought was ridiculous if it was a book that had to do with the Fae. I’d picked it up a couple of times, but the start of the book, when she’s hunting in the woods, never really caught my eye. It was very meh for me. I’ve also never read any Sarah J Maas before so I was unsure if I’d like her style.

I do.

Throughout the book, Feyre did bug me a bit, but I got involved in her story to the point of me not overly caring about her as a person but instead caring for what she was DOING. If that makes sense at all.

Tamlin was okay for me, but not my favourite. He was a well built character, but I found him weak as a person. I don’t know why. He’s carrying a great weight on his shoulders and everything, so he’s allowed to be moody and grumpy, but he just never completely grew on me. I feel like his situation could have been handled a lot differently. View Spoiler »

Lucien. Mmmm mmm mmm. Lucien is my favourite. I don’t even want him with Feyre, I want him all to myself.

I can see why people like Rhysand, although I need to see more of him to judge him completely. I do think there’s some kindness lurking underneath all that shadow and darkness. I want to hear his backstory.

The world itself didn’t really add or subtract from the overall plot for me. I understood the basis of how it worked, but other than the seasons all being specific in each court, I didn’t retain any details. It’s human land that the fairies got a chunk of, and then they divided it up into different courts. But the lands are basically still human looking. That’s what I understood.

I’m glad I read A Court of Thorns and Roses and I definitely will be picking up the second. Woot!

Oh, and because it probably matters, not a huge fan of the romance between Tamlin and Feyre. It didn’t flow very well for me.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Wishing Thread//Magic Exists

The Wishing Thread//Magic ExistsThe Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen
Published by Ballantine Books on September 3rd 2013
Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads

The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers. When the Stitchery matriarch, Mariah, dies, she leaves the yarn shop to her three nieces. Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community, though her sisters have long stayed away. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has always been skeptical of magic and wants her children to have a normal, nonmagical life. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Now, after Mariah’s death forces a reunion, the sisters must reassess the state of their lives even as they decide the fate of the Stitchery. But their relationships with one another—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold?

I think this might be the first magical realism book I have ever read. I hadn’t even heard of the genre until a couple of months ago, but I didn’t really know what it was. I have to say, I’m quite a fan of the genre (yes this is based off of one book, but I’m allowed to make rash decisions!)

First off, the world building. Hm! Amazing. I loved the small town vibes that Tarrytown presented to me, the reader. I kept picturing Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, but a little more run down and less welcoming. And The Stitchery lept off the page at me. I wanted nothing more than to explore every nook and cranny of that house.

All three of the sisters were superb. They each had their own personalities, their own set of problems, and yet everything wove together wonderfully. Aubrey grew throughout the whole book (although she annoyed me consistently near the end), Bitty became less bitchy (I did not like her at the beginning) and Meggie started to find her place in the family. It was wonderful to see such different characters come together and have to interact, especially since that sister bond is there. Or was there, before everyone left years ago.

All in all, The Wishing Thread was a cute little book that I enjoyed. There were some parts of it that were meh, but it was an entertaining read. It gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling that watching Gilmore Girls used to give me.

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star