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.


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.

Bibliophile? Literophile? Perhaps.

This Christmas, literary gifts abounded!

Typewriter, from the boyfriend.

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!


Book Hoarding

I recently traveled to New York (you can read about it here if you’d like!) and have to say that I’m glad to be settled back at home. It always takes me a few days to get reacquainted with my routine when I return from traveling. For some reason it leaves me a bit discombobulated. 🙂

Yesterday I read an article about how to weed through an overflowing book collection, and I’m thinking I may need to utilize the tips in the article soon. My book collection is constantly growing, and I do my best to donate old books that I either have never read or don’t really want to read again. Yet still, it grows. And I have boxes in my storage unit full of books as well. Oh, and I’m fairly certain my mother has boxes of my childhood books at my parents’ house in Michigan, too. Gah!

I’m pretty good about getting rid of things I no longer use. Particularly over the last couple of years. I would love to be more minimalistic not only for space saving reasons, but just to lessen my attachment to material objects.

I’ve started using up lotions and hair products before buying more (my girl Jenna Marbles pointed out the goo-hoarding that many women succumb to!). That has been going pretty well. But I still manage to accumulate more via gifts, etc.

Probably every 3-6 months I’ll do a quick run-through of my closet to see if there is anything I haven’t worn that I don’t anticipate wearing again soon. I use the hanger direction method–when I buy a new item I hang the hanger facing the opposite direction from the rest. Once I wear it, I flip it around. So anything that is still flipped the opposite way after 6 months to a year (seasonal items taken into account) gets donated. Unless it’s a special occasion item!

But this is incredibly difficult for me where books are concerned. If it’s something I’ve had for nearly a year or more than a year and I haven’t read it and find that I’m not terribly interested in reading it, I can easily donate it. But nearly every book I actually read, I want to keep! Then I have my ever-growing list of favorites. I feel a profound attachment to books that I can’t quite put into words. I imagine any other bibliophile out there understands!


As I’ve mentioned previously, as a child I always had a book in my hands. Pretty much until I was of driving age, I took a book with me everywhere I went. Then shortly after I started driving, I went to college. Any free time was spent on homework, reading for class, working, or trying to have some semblance of a social life.

Granted, a good portion of my classes were English classes, so I was still reading some novels and such. But still, I wasn’t necessarily reading what I wanted and I wasn’t ready NEARLY as much as I had the first 16/17 years of my life.

Just in the last year or two I’ve gotten back into the habit of reading, and I couldn’t be happier! I’m being taken to other places again… seeing pictures into other lives, fictional or otherwise. Reading can show you a different perspective. I remember reading “Caucasia” by Danzy Senna as a middle-school girl in rural Michigan… surrounded by faces that looked like mine… very little diversity… I obviously have no idea what it is to be a black woman in America, or a mixed-race woman. And reading that book gave me at least a peek into that life. A picture of what it is like. It gave me a little bit more understanding than I had before, than I was able to get from my surroundings. And I’ve been fortunate enough to never have been a victim of sexual assault, but reading “Lucky” by Alice Sebold let me see what an experience like that can do to someone’s psyche… the ups and downs they go through in dealing with it, coping with it. I still don’t know exactly what it’s like, because it hasn’t happened to me, but I have a better understanding of it.

And then there’s all the wonderful fiction that at the surface level is entertaining–mainstream/commercial–but still manages to tell us something about the human experience, about love, about family, about friendship. Sometimes I’ll pick up a book not having any idea what it’s about and it might not exactly thrill me, but it’s still another story in my arsenal. I may have read new words, something in the book may have sparked an idea in my own mind.

I just finished reading “The Infinite Sea” by Rick Yancey and “Anne & Henry” by Dawn Ius–both good in different ways. I’m about to start “Changeless” by Gail Carriger, and I can’t wait! I can’t wait to finish that whole series! But I’m also anxious to get through the Throne of Glass series and book two of the Tearling series. “Queen of the Tearling” got some mixed reviews on Goodreads when I first picked it up, but I liked it quite a bit. That’s why I don’t typically pay much attention to reviews on books. Books are so subjective!

Let’s Try This Again

I took a few deep breaths, and I think I can rewrite this post now. HaHa! Seriously though, don’t you HATE that?! You write out this entire thing and you’re all jazzed about it, and then you forget to save. THE WORST EVER. Ugh. Moving along.

Books. I got my library card on Friday (hadn’t done it since technically moving to a different city) and then Saturday took a trip to Changing Hands (Twitter: @changinghands), a lovely, local cornucopia of books, so I just have books on the brain.

When I walk into a library or bookstore there is a very distinct physical feeling I get. It’s as if my heart reaches out, hungrier than ever for words and stories and other worlds and lives to explore. I genuinely feel it, this yearning. I don’t know where it comes from. Basically from the moment I learned to read, I’ve been devouring books as often as possible.

I don’t want to compare it to a spiritual experience, but it really almost feels that way. In the sense that when I pick up a book, feel its pages, and read its words… it feeds my soul, I guess. It gives me a sense of joy and peacefulness unlike almost anything else.

I’m sure I had more written on the subject, but that’s the gist of it. 🙂 Book nerd status.

Agent Kindness

The outline for the sequel to my book is in the works… !

I don’t typically find outlines very useful. But I need to organize the storyline in my mind before I start working on it very seriously.

Part of me feels kind of silly working on the sequel when I haven’t even gotten an agent for the first one, but I want to be proactive. Rejection letters won’t stop me, dang it! HaHa.

I received a really nice rejection letter the other day, actually. As strange as that may sound. The agent listed a bunch of successful authors who were found in the slush pile after receiving multiple rejections, and urged me to continue. 🙂 I thought it was a nice little touch–a thoughtful touch that they didn’t need to bother with, yet they did.

Kindness is so easily forgotten by so many people. I appreciate people’s small acts of kindness quite a bit. 🙂