Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Oh it has been some time, hasn’t it?! Yikes. I have clearly still been slacking when it comes to creating a more regular blogging habit.

I’ve decided to do more book review posts here. I often have many thoughts on a book, and when I rate them using the GoodReads app and don’t always feel like writing anything very lengthy there since I’d be typing on a phone.

I just finished reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Sometimes I want to rate a book based on how emotionally invested I was in the characters, and if I were to rate it based on that I would have to give it a slightly lower rating than I did. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads for a few reasons, but I have to admit that I didn’t necessarily experience “the feels” with this book.

***Spoilers Warning starting now! ***

 

What I did love was the world-building, for one. I could very clearly see these multiple Londons and the magic within all the worlds. The writing here was wonderful and almost made this fictional world feel like a real place!

Also, I surprised myself by being SO HAPPY that the two MCs did not fall in love. This doesn’t mean that I would be upset if they fall in love later in the series because I wouldn’t. I loved them both on their own as individuals and they did have an easy chemistry between them.

However, there are far too many times where I’m reading a book with some big action-packed mission and two characters fall for each other during it and have constant flirtation and romantic/sexual tension, and I always kind of go, “But really though?”

Realistically, if you are in the middle of a big, all-consuming, life-or-death mission the chances of even having time to THINK about being flirtatious would be fairly slim to none, I would think. All too often I’m left sitting there thinking, “Who would even have the energy left to flirt?!” Particularly when there is a time crunch on the mission. I suppose if it’s a long game kind of thing, then whatever, that’s different. But when they have mere days… well, ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, I fully appreciated that the MCs in this book were focused on their mission and didn’t dink around to be coy and flirtatious with one another and worry about whether or not the other one liked them.

I really liked Lila. I liked that she was genuinely fearless. Well, not fearless exactly, but able to think past her fear. She is not as afraid of death as she is afraid of a boring life devoid of adventure, and I just really loved that about her. It came across as quite genuine and not like some cheap “front” she was putting up in front of her tortured soul. She was much more self-aware and confident than Kell — she already knows what she wants out of her life.

Personally, I felt that Lila didn’t fall into the “strong female character” trope because to me despite the fact that she was physically tough and could fight, her strength of will and her confidence is what really stuck out. She seemed emotionally strong and well-adjusted, even though she was mistreated as a child and lived an incredibly difficult life. It didn’t seem to me that was “wounded” by those things. She’s too straight-forward for that, I think. She accepts things as they are and doesn’t worry herself or waste her energy with fretting over things that she cannot change.

I’m kind of sick of seeing characters who beat themselves up or feel sorry for themselves FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES over things that happened in their pasts.

In this way, I can personally relate to Lila and that’s probably why I liked her so much! I’m not a thief or cut-throat, haven’t killed anyone (I promise! Haha), and haven’t lived on the streets… but I can relate to that emotional willfulness and ability to spend energy on what I see as more productive things than fretting about the past or the future.

I’m so excited to read the next book now! I’m pretty sure I figured out a “secret” and I think it was supposed to be pretty obvious… the whole glass eye thing… yeah? Yeah?! I’m very intrigued to read more.

I do hope that maybe in the next book I’ll get more of “the feels” while reading. I love to have a book just wreck me thoroughly. It hasn’t happened in quite some time! Probably since The Wrath and the Dawn.

Writing Challenge!

What a week it has been. I am intellectually exhausted and drained after the election on Tuesday, from doing my best to be level-headed and understanding, all the while trying to comprehend why social issues aren’t more important to everyone. But that is simply because they are so very important to me personally. And that is all I will say about that.

In other news, I’m doing a writing challenge for the month of November! NaNoWriMo was a bit daunting for me and then a fellow writing friend, Necole Ryse, popped up with a different challenge! So I am participating in that – 500 words per day! (You should definitely go check out Necole’s site and various social media accounts – and duh, her books!)

By participating, I’m really being faced with how much I let life get in the way of my writing goals. There have been a few days where I wrote nothing, and multiple where I wrote just over 200, or 400. I have gotten away from making writing a priority, and that simply sucks!

I’m doing my best to stay dedicated, though. I made up for some of it by writing over 800 words today and plan to do that for a few more days to try to make up for all of the slacking. I do have the rest of the month, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m just trying to nip the habit in the bud before it’s the end of the challenge and I’m CRAZY far behind!

Power of the Written Word

Back in the end of May/beginning of June the Stanford rape case was everywhere you looked. My Facebook page was full of articles discussing it, the mainstream news talked about it daily. People were outraged, with very good reason. I was one of those outraged people.

There is so much that can be said about this case and about rape culture in general. I could go on and on about it and have done so numerous times. But the one thing that I love about this particular situation, is that this survivor was brave enough to put her experience down in the written word and it was so powerful that it could not be ignored.

It was read in Congress, which according to an article I saw, is the first time such a letter/statement was read and added to Congressional Record. It was read on a news program by a reporter who got choked up and had a difficult time finishing the reading. When it was first on Buzzfeed and went viral it was read nearly 5 million times in one weekend.

As a writer, this fact has stuck with me since the entire thing first was publicized. This is what I love about writing. Sometimes it can be fun and entertaining and not really that important in the grand scheme of things. Other times, it can drive a powerful message home that is so often ignored. That girl poured her heart out in that statement, letting go of any fear or embarrassment. She wrote it down in a way that connected with people–people who have never experienced a situation like that before, who now have at least an idea of what it is like from the survivor’s perspective.

I would love to meet this woman, to congratulate her on her immense bravery and the impact she made when she wrote down those words. In spite of the turmoil she experienced, she managed to be strong enough to do something to make this world a little better and she should be incredibly proud of herself.

Give Me A Moment to Fangirl.

One of the best feelings, being a lover of books (or a bookworm/book nerd, if you will), is convincing others to read a book you are particularly passionate about and seeing them fall in love with it as well.

When I first read The Hunger Games (back in… 2010 or 2011), I told pretty much anybody who would listen that they needed to read the books. My best friends, kids that worked at the Hollister store I was an assistant manager of, and anyone who even mentioned in passing conversation that they enjoyed reading.

Not since then have I latched on to a series with such devotion. But this past fall when I read the currently released books from the Throne of Glass series, I felt that same obsession creeping in. By the end of the third book I decided that I wanted to be Celaena. She is a badass by any definition. By the end of the fourth book my heart was broken because I realized (via Internet searching) that the next book wouldn’t be released for nearly a year. The anticipation is killing me! I have so many guesses for what will happen in the final two books, and I just want to see if I’m right! Because if I am right, it’s going to be epic. I mean, Sarah J. Maas will make it epic regardless, but if my guesses are correct it will be… ugh!

In the mean time, I’ve managed to get my two fellow bookworm best friends to read them and have been pleased to find that they are loving the series, too. 🙂 I can’t say for sure if they really love it as much as I do or if they’re just trying to placate me and get me to stop going on about it, but all signs point to addiction on their parts as well.

I can only hope that some day in the near future, someone will be gushing about my book to their best friends, pestering them to read it like a true fangirl. Because that’s definitely what I am right now. Total ToG fangirl, and 100% not ashamed.

Notebooks & Books On Writing

Apparently I’ve been missing out, not knowing about this book. It seems that many high school English classes use it, but mine definitely did not. The book is “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg.

I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already loving it. There are so many prompts and ideas and I’m finding it all to be quite inspiring. I read a chapter or two and I have to stop because there’s something that I want to write down before I forget!

I’ve also decided to follow in Natalie Goldberg’s footsteps and start using just plain, single subject, spiral-bound notebooks for my writing practice. I’m a little bit obsessed with office supplies, notebooks included, so I find myself constantly buying new ones, different ones. I’ll buy a large 300 page notebook and then before I’ve even filled 5 pages, I buy a pretty composition book style notebook. And another, and then a fun journal that I liked because it opened flat. Before I know it, I have 6 or 7 empty notebooks lying around, only 25% filled in total! It’s like I’m spending more time worrying about the notebooks and which one to write in than I am actually writing. And how silly is that?!

I figure that if I take the guesswork out of it and give myself that “routine” of using regular single subject notebooks, it will enable me to be more productive.

Basically, I should know by now that I work best with a routine set in place. At the very least, organized chaos. 🙂

Bibliophile? Literophile? Perhaps.

This Christmas, literary gifts abounded!

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Typewriter, from the boyfriend.

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Stamp, from the parents.

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Book bag and “Pemberly” (Pride & Prejudice) candle, from the best friend.


Color me happy. 🙂

I was going to get a manual typewriter, but since I’ve never worked with a typewriter before, and I know myself (aka: I know my short-temper) I figured I should get used to an automatic one before going up to a manual. I could see myself having a freakout of annoyance from constantly hitting the return. Or “spazzing” as I like to call it.

My cat is quite perplexed by the whirring sound it makes when it is on and essentially terrified of the harsh clicking of the keys and the return. She’s not sure what to make of it!

At any rate, I am quite pleased with the gifts. Also, I read 35 books in 2015 (read 15 in 2014) and I’m reaching for 50 this year. Books, books, more books! All the books!

Speaking of, I’m super behind on my BookRiot “All the Books” podcasts… check it out if you like hearing about new books that might be interesting!

 

Little Christmas Moments

I am getting a typewriter for Christmas! Thanks to the thoughtful boyfriend who knows I’ve wanted one for quite some time. 😀

At some point, I will take it to a typewriter repair shop and have them paint it pink for me, rather than blue. Because I am admittedly a bit obsessed with the color pink. It is a bright, fun, happy color–judge me if you’d like; I don’t care. HaHa!

I also have a slight obsession with Christmas. I’m sure largely due to my many happy memories of Christmas with my family as a kid. I am incredibly fortunate to have had the generally happy childhood that I did. We were by no means rolling in money, but we certainly didn’t live in poverty either. And what was more important than the actual gifts we would get was the overall feeling of Christmas–the decorations, the smell of the pine tree in the living room, the traditions that lived on every year (and still to this day).

My brother and I hiding candy canes and smaller ornaments deep in the branches of the tree, then celebrating when we would find each other’s stashed items. Mom reading us the pop-up “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve and giving us our one Christmas Eve present which was always new pajamas.

The two of us (once we got older) would stay up, one of us sneaking across the hall into the other’s room, and we would try to spy as Mom wrapped up the final gifts. Then Christmas morning, my brother and I getting up and trying to wake up Mom & Dad at the crack of dawn. They made us wait a little while usually, but we at least got to go dig through our stockings while they roused themselves from bed and made a pot of coffee.

Mom would read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible before we could start tearing into our presents, and after we were finished opening everything my brother and I would spend the day playing with new items, calling our cousins and friends to see what they got, and we typically enjoyed a relaxing day at home together. Just watching t.v. and hanging out, sometimes convincing our parents to let us go to our cousins’ or allow them to come over to our house.

I thoroughly love those memories. 🙂 Nothing particularly Earth-shattering would ever happen… I remember some of the gifts specifically but for the most part I just remember all of those little moments.