Top Ten Tuesday: Books That I Love But Haven’t Talked About Enough

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a topic and bloggers create a list based on that topic. This week’s theme is books that I loved but haven’t talked about enough.

1. The Colours of Madeleine trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty

This is an Australian YA fantasy trilogy and I absolutely loooove it. I’ve actually talked about this book quite a bit over on Happy Indulgence, where I reviewed all three of the books. But I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I love the series, on this blog! The first two books were good but the final book, which came out in February, was AMAZING. This series is like a wonderful mix of contemporary and fantasy elements. It’s magical, colourful, funny and exciting, and I highly recommend it.

2. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

This is a book that I enjoyed so much that I was scared to review it. Which sucks, because you guys probably didn’t know that it’s currently one of my favourite books of the year so far. This is a Romeo and Juliet story about forbidden love. Cluck and Lace come from rival families and fall in love. Their romance was soooo great and is definitely one you can root for! There’s magical realism in this book, which just speaks to my soul.

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I’ve recommended this one a few people individually but I thought I needed to profess my love for this book in this post. Just One Day is my favourite of all of Gayle Forman’s books. If you were disappointed with I Was Here (don’t worry, I was too) and you didn’t love If I Stay as much as you thought you would, I recommend her Just One Day duology! Both Just One Day and Just One Year are fantastic! The epilogue novella, Just One Night, was also absolutely amazing. If you want a great coming of age story with lots of travel, please check out this duology!

4. Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

I’ve given both of Robyn Schneider’s books 5 stars. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (aka The Beginning of Everything) was amazing, but I enjoyed this one even more. It was bittersweet and fun, with lots of amazing characters. It had the fun, as well as the depth, and I thought it was a really well-balanced story.

5. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything is the epitome of a great contemporary novel. It has intriguing and relatable characters, realistic friendships and romances and it actually explores the issues that it sets out to explore. On top of that, there’s a lot of mention of pizza in this book, which just warms my heart.

6. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Last year, I read a whole pile of books about teen suicide, all at the same time. My Heart and Other Black Holes was one of the standouts (along with The Last Time We Say Goodbye, which topped the list). Forget All the Bright Places. Forget I Was Here. My Heart and Other Black Holes is where it’s at! What I think it has that the ever popular All the Bright Places doesn’t, is an accurate representation of depression and suicide. All the Bright Places kind of shocked me into liking it with all of the emotions and feels (when honestly it wasn’t even that great). My Heart and Other Black Holes really sucked me in with the writing and the realism, and it received a 5 star rating from me because it was a great book, and not because it shocked me into loving it.

7. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

I don’t think I can explain why I loved Finding Audrey as much as I did. It was just a really adorable and funny book about anxiety that still managed to portray it well. The characters were hilarious and I loved the format of the book. I also liked that it wasn’t a ‘love cures all’ kind of book. It was just wonderful!

8. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I always seem to talk about My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, but I love What I Thought Was True almost just as much. The characters are wonderful and the love interest is a super nice guy. What more could you ask for from a contemporary romance? It also has a lovely summer setting and you will just absolutely fall in love with. As with all of Huntley’s books, the writing is beautiful to read and your eyeballs will sign with happiness!

9. Every Day by David Levithan

This is one of my favourite LGBTQ+ books. There are so many diverse characters in Every Day and I appreciated all the representation that was in this novel. Every Day has a really intriguing premise and I enjoyed every single page of this book. I cannot wait for the sequel to come out!

10. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This is one that everybody loves, so I probably don’t need to profess my love for it. But I’ve realised that I rarely talk about how much I loved it. It was a wonderfully conceptualised and crafted world that you can’t help but be sucked into. I loved most of the characters and were really intrigued by them. Most of all, I just really want Kell’s coat. I’ve been putting off reading AGOS because I really want to reread the last third of this book to refresh my memory first. But I hear people raving about AGOS left and right, so I might just jump straight into it.


Are any of these books on your favourites list? Which ones have I convinced you to pick up? XD

 

Wrap Up: August 2015

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August was another great reading month for me. I read a total of 18 books, with a good mix of female and male authors (and a lot of David Levithan!). There was also a mix of books that I did and didn’t enjoy. I have written reviews of almost all of these books. Click on the links to read in-depth reviews of each book!

August15

Reading summary header

1. The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak – Brian Katcher  4 stars
A fun, nerdy and fast-paced contemporary about Ana and Zak who are searching for Ana’s brother at a sci-fi convention.

2. After Dark – Haruki Murakami  35 stars
A thought-provoking story following a couple of characters on their ‘adventures’ in the middle of the night. Slow-paced with a hint of magical realism.

3. Sunkissed – Jenny McLachlan  3 stars
A fun, summery, coming of age story set on a Swedish island.

4. The Shadowhunter’s Codex – Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis  3 stars
A guide to the Shadowhunter world, with illustrations and commentary from Clary, Jace and Simon.

5. Every Day – David Levithan  5 stars
A great diverse book about A, who wakes up in the body of a different person each day. He falls in love with the girlfriend of a boy whose body he inhabits and he has to find his way back to her each day.

6. Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan  45 stars
Another great LGBTQ+ book from David Levithan. This book is poignant and important. It explores different aspects of what it means to be gay, comparing previous generations to the current generation.

7. Sinner – Maggie Stiefvater  25 stars
A companion novel to The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. This could be read as a standalone but I would recommend reading the trilogy first.

8. Six Earlier Days – David Levithan  4 stars
Six short stories about six days in A’s life, before the events in Every Day. I’d highly recommend these if you enjoyed Every Day.

9. A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab  45 stars
Set in parallel London’s, this book follows Kell who is able to travel between the different Londons, and smuggles items from one to another.

10. Polarity in Motion – Brenda Vicars  35 stars
When a nude photo of Polarity emerges online, she has no recollection of how the photo was taken. She finds herself yanked from her family and entangled in a world she knows nothing about.

11. The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman  45 stars
A wonderful reimagining of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, with beautiful illustrations by Chris Riddell.

12. Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch  5 stars
A brilliant fantasy world, with some great characters and a fascinating magic system. This was a fantastic first book to a trilogy.

13. The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick  45 stars
Another great contemporary book from Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is a companion to My Life Next Door, and can be read as a standalone. I’d recommend reading MLND first though for all of the character building (and also because it’s a great book)!

14. Wonderland – Robert McKay  4 stars
A sci-fi retelling of Alice in Wonderland. This book was fun and crazy in the best ways.

15. One – Sarah Crossan  45 stars
A story, written in free verse, about conjoined twins and what it means to share a body and a soul with somebody else.

16. Risk – Fleur Ferris  2 stars
A serious and dark Aussie YA book about online safety and the dangers of meeting strangers online.

17. Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella  45 stars
This is Sophie Kinsella’s first YA novel and it was so great! It was a heartwarming and funny story about family and finding yourself again after adversity.

18. The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan  4 stars
Written as a series of dictionary entries, this is a story about love. It’s a non-linear story, written in second person, and explores the positive and negative aspects of love.

T10T

This month I did four Top Ten Tuesday posts. You can check out my posts by clicking the links below.


If you’ve done a wrap up for this month, I’d love to see what you’ve read.

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

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Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: February 24, 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1783295406
Pages: 384
Goodreads || Book Depository

Kell is one of the last travellers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, without magic and ruled by the mad King George III. Red London – where magic is revered, and where Kell was raised alongside the heir to the empire. White London – where people fight to control the remaining magic and magic fights back. And once there was Black London…

Officially Kell is the Red traveller, carrying letters between the monarchs of each London. Unofficially he is a smuggler, a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences. His escape to Grey London leads to a run-in with Delilah, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations, who forces Kell to take her on a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and an adventure becomes a mission to save all of the worlds.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

This book was amazing! I haven’t read a lot of adult fantasy and this made me want to pick up more books in that genre. This was my first V.E. Schwab book and it didn’t disappoint at all.

I thought this novel was a standalone (I tried to not do too much research into it in case I was spoiled). I had no idea that it was part of a trilogy (series?) until I got to the end and realised there were some loose threads that needed to be tied up. However, this book reads a lot like a standalone and I feel completely satisfied with how this first book ended. I think you could definitely get away with reading this one book if you didn’t want to commit to two more books. Seeing the US cover for the second book now, I kind of wish I had gotten the US cover for A Darker Shade of Magic. They look so great together.

A Darker Shade final for Irene        A Gathering of Shadows Final

The worlds in this book were so great. Each of the four Londons were so unique and distinct from each other. It was very interesting to read about. I did wish that we got to see more of each of the worlds, especially Red London. While we do get to experience Red London from the perspectives of Kell and Lila, I felt like we could have spent longer in that world and seen more of it. The first 100 pages set up the worlds very well, but I thought that the pace was a bit slow at times. Once the book hit the 100 page mark, the plot definitely started to get more exciting and fast-paced. I flew through the book after that and finished the rest of it in just a couple of hours. It contained more violence and death than I had expected but it all worked within the story.

I really liked the magic system in the book. It was interesting to see all of the things that Kell could do and it was particularly exciting when we got to see the different kinds of magic battling each other. Again, I wish we had gotten to know even more about the workings of the elements and magic, and how they’re different from each other. I feel like that needed a little bit more development. However, I can see A Gathering of Shadows (Book 2) having a lot more magic. I thought it was also interesting how magic was personified and was almost a character in the book. The relationship that each of the characters had with magic was also interesting to read about.

Moving on to the characters…I really liked Kell. He wasn’t the most exciting protagonist but I liked the way he was portrayed by V.E. Schwab. He’s an elite magician who is looked up to in Red London, and to some extent the other Londons too, but he seemed like such an ordinary guy. I just really connected with his character. He also has a really cool multi-sided coat that I still can’t picture in my head. Lila, I had a harder time connecting with, especially at the beginning. She was stubborn and headstrong and I was just very frustrated with her. She ignored what people were telling her and just did whatever she wanted to do, regardless of the consequences. That really annoyed me. She did grow on me as the story progressed and I thought the partnership she had with Kell was perfect. I loved the dialogue between the two of them. I’m also glad that there wasn’t really any romance between Kell and Lila. Their relationship was just exactly what the story needed it to be. I’m sure something more will develop between them in the next books though.

I’m excited to see what the rest of the trilogy brings, but I am very satisfied with how A Darker Shade of Magic played out. I’ll have to pick up some more V.E. Schwab in the future because her writing style is beautiful!!