Friday, November 27, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Publication Date:  February 24, 2015
Publisher:  Tor Books
Pages:  398
Series:  A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Genre:  Fantasy
Synopsis:  Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

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

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving and Thankfulness

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week it is Thanksgiving in America so I'm listing ten things I'm thankful for, including the usual cliches.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Book GIF Tag!

GIFs may be controversial on how exactly they're pronounced, but the one thing everyone seems to agree on is how fun they are.  Finally, humankind invented something close to what Harry Potter had.  I stole this tag from Anna over at Annaish, who is incredible and has an extreme love for The Raven Boys.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Comic Book Reviews I

Vol. 1: No Normal
Author:  G.  Willow Wilson
Artist:  Adrian Alphona

Rating:  2.5 keys

Ms. Marvel is the first issue in a new Marvel (obviously) series about a Muslim girl named Kamala who suddenly finds herself with superhero abilities.  After all the hype, I have to say that I expected more.  This one fell a bit flat.  It lacks in depth and is cliche all the way around.  Hopefully there will be more expansion in the sequel.

Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Author:  Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Artist:   Karl Kerschl

Rating:  4 Keys

I am not a DC girl.  I am Marvel all the way.  However, I have a soft spot for Batman and, of course, Gotham.  Naturally, I enjoyed this spin-off tale about Olive Silverlock--student at Gotham Academy.  This comic is jam-packed with mystery and tension and gorgeous art.  The designs are spot on.  My only complaint is that the pages are a little busy--my eyes didn't know where to look first!

The Night Gwen Stacy Died--Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #121
Author:  Stan Lee
Artist:  Gil Kane

Rating:  5 Keys  

This was the first comic book I ever read and it did not disappoint.  I picked up my dad's old, battered copy and delved into the early ages of Spider-Man:  the Gwen Stacy era.  If nothing else, this issue is climactic and ends on a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger.  My single coherent thought is that Spider-Man is so cool.

Author/Artist:  Emily Carroll

Rating:  3.5 Keys

Through the Woods is unsettling.  It is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.  Five little mystical stories to keep you up at night.  It is whimsical horror.  I downright adored the coloring--dominantly black and white with pops of color creeping in--although the drawings themselves weren't my preferred style.

Season 8:  The Long Way Home
Author:  Joss Whedon
Artist:  Georges Jeanty

Rating:  3.5 Keys

This is quintessentially Buffy, through and through.  It feels like the show, something I attribute to Joss Whedon's witty writing.  However, it isn't without flaws:  there is so much happening at once that it is hard to keep track of and I am uncertain about the villain being a government order, as it reminds me of The Initiative in season 4, which I wasn't a huge fan of.  But this is Buffy--impossible not to love.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.  I am quite particular about my quotes.  I hoard words and prefer to keep them close to my heart.  The quotes I choose don't always come from books and especially not from this year alone.  But here are the ones I could manage:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Publication Date:  October 6, 2015
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Pages:  522
Series:  Stand Alone
Genre:  Fantasy
Synopsis:  Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Publication Date:  April 1, 2014
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 
Pages:  336
Series:  Stand Alone
Genre:  Contemporary
Synopsis:  It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven?

It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Recap: October 2015!

I'm fairly certain I say this every month, but where did the time go?  A month ago I was living in a different state and anxiously awaiting Halloween.  Now it's November the first and I'm wondering how Halloween has already passed and typing this post up in a new house.   

This Halloween my family and I went to an amusement park that was having a horror night.  Although I couldn't dress up as I planned (as Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), since costumes weren't allowed, I still had a spooktacular time.

I rode my first ever real roller coaster, the kind that flips you upside down and drops without warning--and it was beyond awesome.  Plus, candy.  And pretzels.  And all sorts of yummy deliciousness.

Rating:  3 Keys

The Shining was my first Stephen King novel, carefully selected to scare the living daylights out of me.  Unfortunately, while King is a master at spinning unbelievable realistic and flawed characters and at analyzing the psychology of the human mind, he failed to frighten me.

Rating: 4 Keys

Victoria Schwab has never failed to give me a stellar reading experience, and The Near Witch is no exception.  The story has the feel of an old fairy tale, paired with melodic writing, which results in an imperfect but enjoyable read.

Rating:  3.5 Keys

As you can imagine, Love Letters to the Dead is not exactly a cheerful book, but is rather heartfelt and genuine.  It deals with tough issues in an extremely sensitive and respectful way, although it does not escape from faults--there is often foolish drama and an erratic writing style.  Even so, I would recommend this book to anyone up for an emotional roller coaster ride.

Rating:  4 Keys

If you couldn't guess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  I was over the moon excited to get my hands on the graphic novels, which pick up where the last season left off.  While it isn't perfect, the first issue is so intrinsically Buffy that I couldn't help but fall in love with it.

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