A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)

a gathering of shadowsBook: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)

Author: VE Schwab

I was so excited to read this book after reading A Darker Shade Of Magic because I loved that and even more excited after I met Victoria at YALC, it’s safe to say I had high hopes for this one. I am happy to say that I really enjoyed it (even if the end is making me mad!), I didn’t love it as much as the first one but I still really enjoyed it and am incredibly excited for A Conjuring of Light (if we could magically transport February so it comes sooner I would really appreciate that. I mean seriously that ending was cruel. CRUEL I TELL YOU! (Sorry I have many feelings about the end of this book, this may be the most difficult spoiler free review I’ve ever written). Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall. (Okay, so it’s maybe not so short)!

The first thing I have to say about this book is that the characters are still amazing. My favourite of course is still Lila, I mean don’t get me wrong, she does some stupid stuff and most of the book is you in your head going “Lila, no!” and Lila going “Lila, yes” (which I think is a pretty accurate description of the rest of the characters’ reactions to Lila in this book as well to be honest) but she is still one of the most badass, complicated, intriguing female characters I’ve ever read about and I love her, she’s probably one of my favourite female characters I’ve read about. I loved getting to see her use magic in this book (her magic is so cool) and I also appreciated that VE Schwab used flashbacks showing her learning magic, because you get to see that she didn’t find it so easy and she really hard to work hard, which I liked.

I found that I had a new found appreciation for Rhy in this book. We didn’t really get to see much of him in ADSOM, but this book shows him at his best, you get to see just how charming and lovely and funny he is (which we got hints of in the last book) but also how clever he is. I don’t want to spoil it but basically there’s this scheme involving Kell and the Essen Tasch (Element Games which I will talk about a little later on in my review) that really shows off how smart Rhy is. I also loved getting to see more of the brotherly bond between Kell and Rhy in this book and liked that Schwab explored the effects of what happened to them both in the last book in this one (I don’t want to spoil for those who haven’t read the first book, so I can’t say!). I loved how great Rhy is at languages, I could connect with that as I was quite good at languages when I was at school.

I felt really bad for Kell in this book. The events of the last book have had some severe consequences for him in that the King and Queen blame him for what happened and it wasn’t even really his fault (not completely anyway). Basically, I spent most of this book wanting to give him a hug. I felt like he was a lot more sombre and serious and less sassy in this book but it fitted with the tone and I still really liked him and I feel like we got to see even more of the extent of his powers in this book which was cool. I also loved how fiercely protective he was of Rhy (and of Lila), and they was a funny moment with him and Rhy that I particularly loved.

I don’t want to go as far as saying I liked the new character Alucard, because I feel like that would be stretching it (I don’t entirely trust him, he’s a little shifty) but I thought he was intriguing and he filled the mentor character for Lila quite well. I look forward to seeing the full extent of his powers because although we get to see quite a bit, I still feel like he’s more powerful that he lets on. I’d also like more of Kell’s grudge against him to be explored because it was touched on but I feel like there could be more to it. I’d like to see some flashbacks with his relationship with Alucard because the one scene they had together was steamy and I like to see more! I also appreciate that there wasn’t really romance between Alucard and Lila (aside from one kiss, though their chemistry was hot!).

There is some progression with Lila/Kell’s relationship, but not so much that it took over the book which I liked. I actually would have liked to seen Lila and Kell interact more, they’re apart for most of the book. However the ball scene was amazing and there were some other great Lila/Kell scenes through the book, so I think I can forgive VE Schwab for keeping them apart for most of the book. I love that it’s so obvious to everyone but them that they like each other. I also liked the similarities between Kell and Lila in terms of their longing for freedom and how you would expect that Kell has more freedom because he’s an Antari and can go anywhere but it’s actually Lila.

The White London storyline I think was the weaker aspect of this book probably because only one chapter of each part was dedicated to it and it didn’t really tie in to the story as whole until the end. I have a lot of questions about the new character in this part, Ojka and who she actually is as it’s not really explained. I liked that it tied in at the end but for the most part it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story.

I’m interested as to what might be happening in Grey London, we get to see glimpses of it during the book and there’s a possibility that magic may not be as dead there as it might have seemed and I’m very excited to see where this goes in the next book. Having said that, I liked that most of this book took place in Red London, it was fun to learn about all the cultures and customs and other parts of the Red World such as Faro and Vesk. I also liked getting to see the Veskan and Faroan royal families.

I loved that we finally got to see a glimpse of Black London in this book, it was very creepy and I hope we get to see more of it in the next book.

I really liked Calla in the last book and I was excited that we got to see her again in this one. She’s like the book manifestation of us readers fangirling about Lila and Kell and I loved it.

I wasn’t expecting to like Kell’s new guards, but Hastra was quite cool and I loved his magic, it was cool seeing another priestly character aside from Tieren. He was actually quite interesting and I’d really like to get to learn more about him if possible in the next book (Honestly Schwab could do a whole new series about some of the side characters in these books-and I hope she does!). I also found it very cool when I found the quote that VE Schwab had written in my book when she signed it in the actual book and learnt what it meant-Stas Reskon-which means chasing danger (otherwise known as the perfect description of Lila).

This book is very character driven rather than plot driven, I will warn you know for those who are plot driven readers (like me) but the characters are so well drawn that this works for it. Even so I did find myself getting a little restless at times for the real action to start (which when it does it steamrolls on!), so I will warn you now, this is not a fast paced book. Even so, Schwab writes the action scenes of this book very well, it’s all edge of your seat nail-biting stuff. Especially the Essen Tasch, I loved that, all of the fight scenes were made even more amazing because of the magic. I need more magic tournaments in my life people!

There were several typos and slightly misphrased sentences in this book, which don’t usually bother me too much, but it does jar you a little when you come across them. I know this is more of an editing problem and there weren’t many typos, only about four, but more careful proofreading is needed!

Maxim is kind of an ass in this book (the Queen isn’t great either but it was more noticeable in Maxim) and I hated how he treated Kell. I get he’s worried for his son but it wasn’t entirely Kell’s fault what happened in the last book, so I thought his treatment of Kell was a little out of order.

I found it so funny when Lila was trying on a dress for the ball, she was so uncomfortable, it was hilarious!

THAT END! OMG THE END! VICTORIA SCHWAB HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME, YOU ARE AN EVIL GENIUS AND I LOVE/HATE YOU FOR IT! I CANNOT BE LEFT HANGING LIKE THAT FOR MONTHS! NOT COOL SCHWAB, NOT COOL! I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, I HAVE TO KNOW! I CANNOT WAIT TILL FEBRUARY, IT’S GOING TO KILL ME. THIS MAY BE THE MOST EVIL CLIFFHANGER I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED AND I READ RICK RIORDAN’S BOOKS!  (sorry mini rant over.If my reaction is a spoiler I am sorry but I have feelings and I cannot hold them in damn it!).

Basically I need A Conjuring of Light. Like now.

My rating: 4/5

I am not sure what my next review will be as the next book I’m reading is a review book and the review won’t be post until 20th September at the earliest, so it depends what else I read between now and then.

Thursday Quotables #43

Hey everyone! I’m back with a new Thursday Quotables post this week (I’m getting better at doing these on time!). For this week, I’ve chosen a theme of failure, not the nicest sounding theme but I’m hoping that I can find some nice uplifting quotes that show failure isn’t the end of the world! Anyway here are my favourite quotes about overcoming failure:

  1. “Life is full of screwups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existance.”  -Along For The Ride, Sarah Dessen

I’ve never actually read this book, but I liked this quote, so simple and very relatable.

2. “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” -JK Rowling

Okay so this isn’t from a book but how could I not use this quote from my favourite author in today’s post?

3. “Today he failed to change the world. As for tomorrow, who can tell?” -Undivided, Neal Shusterman

I like this quote because although it talks about failure, it expresses optimism for success, plus I love this series!

4. “The moment you doubt whether you can fly you cease for ever to be able to do it” -Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Okay I’ll admit, I’ve never actually read Peter Pan, but I couldn’t resist including this quote, it might not explicitly mention failure but it’s implied and I thought this was a really pretty quote.

5. “There are no boring stories, only a failure to truly listen” -Inamorata, Megan Chance

I had never heard of this book or author before today but I have to say, I’m rather in love with this quote.

That’s all I have for you today, it’s much harder to find quotes on this topic than I thought! Hopefully I will have another one of these for you guys soon, but in the meantime, I should be doing another discussion post soon, so stay tuned for that.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Recap

So this week I did something very cool, on Monday, me and two of my friends (and future housemates) from uni went to the Harry Potter Studios for my friend Nicola’s 19th Birthday. How was it you ask? Well I’ll tell you. It was awesome! I have been wanting to go to the Harry Potter Studios for years and it was so great to get to go with my uni friends (who I haven’t seen all summer because they live in Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively) and celebrate Nicola’s birthday together.

We had come down to London on Sunday and stayed in a youth hostel the previous night as our tour was pretty early on Monday and Nicola and Rebecca were both coming from further away than I was. We got up early on Monday morning (which none of us were particularly happy about because we had to share a room with a man who snored very loudly but I digress) and gave Nicola her birthday presents. I got her two books from YALC, A Monster Calls (which was signed by Patrick Ness) and This Savage Song (which was signed and personalised as I knew Nicola liked Victoria Schwab) and Rebecca got her a Captain Hook Funko Pop, a lipstick that changes colour to match your skin tone and a pretty rose gold bracelet with an N on it.

Once we had given Nicola her presents we got dressed and ready to leave. I realised I couldn’t find my earrings and we scoured the room for them trying to find them but we couldn’t (I did find them later, they’d just got stuck at the bottom of my bag) so we left, figuring we’d find them later (which we did). We then went to a McDonalds around the corner to have breakfast, I had pancakes and hot chocolate, Nicola and Rebecca had hash browns and coffee. We missed our train at Euston because I had to get something at Kings Cross first (sorry guys!) but we ended up getting one ten minutes later, so it wasn’t too much of a disaster.

When we arrived at Watford Junction, we ran to get the special Shuttle Bus to the Harry Potter Studios. We did get it and it didn’t take very long before we’d arrived at the studios. The queue outside was quite long but it moved quickly and soon we were inside (after having been checked by security). Once inside, Rebecca went to stand in the queue, Nicola went to check our coats in the cloakroom. We all met up back in the queue, which was also long, but we managed to entertain ourselves by looking at the photos of the actors around the room and the flying Ford Anglia (attached to strings) in the lobby. We also took pictures of the interior of Harry’s cupboard. Then we finally got to the front of the queue and were led into a dark room filled with posters from the movies in different languages. A woman called Alice gave us a quick introduction to the tour and told us some things to look out for as we were going round and then we were led into a cinema. We watched a short movie where Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson gave us an introduction to the tour and then it was time for the tour to start.

Because it was Nicola’s birthday, she and another girl (whose birthday was also on Monday) got to open the doors to the Great Hall which was really cool (sadly neither Rebecca or I got a picture). We then got to walk through the Great Hall and see all sorts of cool things, the House tables, the fireplace, the House Cup counters (apparently they caused a bead shortage in the Czech Republic because they needed so many), the teachers table and we also got to see some of the cast’s outfits which was cool.

After going through the Great Hall, we were lead into another big room. In this there were lots of other cool set pieces. We got to see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Cho and Krum’s outfits from the Yule Ball. We also got to see the really cool centrepiece from the Yule Ball and all of the deserts (sadly none real). We also got to see the floating candles which I assume were used to create the ceiling of the Great Hall. Then we walked further round the room and got to see some of the outfits and wigs used in the movie (my favourites were Luna’s and Bellatrix’s, they were so long!).

Further into the second big room and there were more set pieces. First we saw the outer gates of Hogwarts and then we saw the Gryffindor Boy’s dormitory. They had a big case with a selection of the wands used in the films which was really cool. After that we saw the Mirror of Erised and the Fat Lady portrait. We also got to see the Gryffindor Common Room which was one of my favourite set pieces (though honestly, I loved them all). We were told by Alice at the beginning to make sure that we kept looking up throughout the tour as lot of things were hidden up high and in the Gryffindor common room, if you looked up at the high ledge, there were a few of the Golden Trio’s costumes. Past the Gryffindor Common Room we got to see more outfits, the Golden Trio’s outfits and Harry’s Invisibility Cloak as well as outfits that belonged to Tonks, Lupin and Sirius. We also saw the big clock from Prisoner of Azkaban and the Triwizard Cup and Golden Egg from Goblet of Fire as well as more of the Golden Trio’s outfits.

We then got to see Dumbledore’s office which was really cool, my favourite part was getting to see the door to his office (the Griffin Door) but we also got to see the memory cabinet and the Pensieve.

As we walked further round we got to see more props, like the Harp from the first movie which put Fluffy to sleep. We got to see the Potions Classroom which was really cool, but unfortunately because it was so dark, the pictures I got of it weren’t very good. We also got to see a lot of the portraits from the movies which was really cool, I couldn’t believe how many they had that were hand painted! After that we saw Hagrid’s Hut which was another really cool set piece.

We saw other cool set pieces as we walked around the big studio, like the snake door entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, the door of a Gringotts Vault, the moving staircase, a Gringott’s Cart, Hagrid’s motorbike, a broomstick, trophies, Lupin’s case, Moody’s trunk, quidditch outfits, more brooms and The Goblet of Fire. It’s amazing how much stuff they have!

After that we saw my personal favourite set of the day, the Burrow. It was so cool and they even had buttons you could press so you could see the frying pan wash itself and the ironing do itself and the knife chop the carrots, it really did feel like magic! It was a really cool set to get to see because The Burrow has always been one of my favourite Harry Potter places (this is all in the same room by the way, the last few paragraphs, the room was absolutely gigantic).

Once we had seen that, we saw another case of props, this time it was the horcruxes. I particularly like the diadem of Ravenclaw, it’s really pretty up close. We got to see the set of the meeting of the Death Eaters from Deathly Hallows Part 1, which was really cool, they even had a model Nagini! They also had a collection of props from Borgin and Burkes, which was all really creepy. This was another place where we had to look up as high above the studio floor, they had Tom Riddle Sr’s gravestone from the graveyard scene in Goblet of Fire. We then got to see the Black family tapestry which was possible one of my favourite props, it’s amazing how much detail they put into it.

We then got to see the Ministry of Magic set, which was really cool, especially the horrible muggle statue that Hermione finds so distasteful in the film, it’s a lot easier to see why when you see it up close. Then we saw Umbridge’s office which was a cacophony of pink, and her outfits (same thing). One of the things I found especially cool was that there were tiny skulls on the bows of one of her dresses which obviously you wouldn’t see on screen but you could see up close.

After that we saw lots of other cool set pieces and props, Umbridge’s educational decrees, death eater masks, a model centaur and even a dementor. Once we had made it to the end of the large studio, we sat down for a break before moving on to the next room. There was this really pretty mural on the wall outside the toilets that I just had to take a picture of because it was so pretty. Whilst we were sitting down, we looked at each other’s pictures and I realised I had missed something as we were going around so I ran back to look at it. It was a case of really cool props from the movies and I’m glad I was able to go back and take a picture.

We then moved on to the next room, which was one of my favourites of the day (I know I keep saying that, but honestly, it’s true). This was the room with the Hogwarts Express! We got to go on the train and take pictures of the interior carriage sets. We also got to have our pictures professionally done in carriage sets (though not the ones in the actual train) and we were pretty terrible at acting to the green screen. We also finally got our Platform 9 3/4 picture (since the queues were ridiculous at Kings X and you had to pay!). After that, Nicola bought one of the better of our Hogwarts Express pictures, she picked up a birthday badge and we had a quick look around the 9 3/4 shop. One of the coolest things on the Hogwarts Express (because I like the little details) was that they had the heart that Lavender drew on the misted up train window in Half Blood Prince). We also got to see the sweet trolley and models of Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron from the 19 Years Later Epilogue.

Once we had finished in the Hogwarts Express room, we walked through a corridor, where there was a display case with lots of cool props, including the Marauders Map and then out to the Backlot Cafe.  We bought Butterbeer and then went and sat down for a well deserved break. I have some very sad news for you all, Butterbeer, yeah it’s not that great. In fact it’s actually kind of gross. But at least I paid for the souvenir mug so I got something out of it.

After we had washed out our Butterbeer mugs, we went out to the backlot. We got to see the Knight Bus and Privet Drive. We actually got to go inside Privet Drive which was really awesome (especially all the letters in the living room). We also saw the Wizard’s Chess board and pieces, the Weasley’s Ford Anglia, The Potters’ House & the bridge where Lupin talks to Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban.

We then went into the Creatures Room. This room had all sorts of magical creatures from the movies in it. We saw Grawp, Dobby, Fawkes, Hedwig, Buckbeak, Thestrals etc. They also had Luna’s lion hat in there which I thought was really cool. They also had a model of Aragog in there, which completely freaked me out because I hate spiders, even stuffed ones, so I almost screamed and then Buckbeak moved which freaked me out even more and then I actually did squeal a little, which my friends thought was hilarious (me, not so much).

Our next stop was Diagon Alley, which was absolutely incredible! I loved getting to walk down it and see all of the shops, particularly Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Diagon Alley was truly magical, I mean the rest of the tour was amazing too but there was something about Diagon Alley that made it just that little bit more special.

After we walked through Diagon Alley, we went into a room filled with small scale models of sets from the movie which was really cool because you got to see where all of the big sets that you had seen earlier originally came from. I couldn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked because my IPod battery was running out, but I’m glad I saved it because the next room was without a doubt the most incredible of the tour.

The next room was probably the best one of the tour. In it was a full scale model of Hogwarts. It was dark in the room but the model was lit up. It’s hard to describe for people who haven’t seen it but it was truly magical. I’ll have pictures of it later on in the post. We spent a while in that room just admiring the model because it was so beautiful and I took pictures of it from every angle!

The last room was kind of an anti-climax after the big Hogwarts model, I mean it was nice, but it was just the interior of Ollivander’s with lots of stacked boxes of wands. We also got to see the Philosopher’s stone up close which was really cool, especially since it glowed in the dark.

After we had finished the tour, we went into the gift shop. Rebecca and Nicola bought more than me, even getting their own wands each, but since it’s nearly the end of summer and I’m kind of broke, I tried to restrain myself (tried being the operative word, I still spent almost £44). I got a Hufflepuff Notebook (it’s black and leather bound with the Hufflepuff crest and it’s so pretty!), a Deathly Hallows necklace, a Deathly Hallows keyring, a chocolate wand and several postcards. I would have liked to have bought a house scarf or t-shirt or hoodie or cushion or something like that but everything was so expensive! I would have got a wand but they were £26.00!

Once we were done with our shopping spree, we went into the cafe to get lunch, which was really nice, I had a pretzel filled with ham and cheese and a chocolate orange trifle. Sadly once we’d finished lunch, our day was over and we had to leave (though not before promptly forgetting our coats in the cloakroom and having to rush back in to get them). Then we went to get the shuttle bus again and our amazing day was over.

We had an incredibly bookish weekend actually, as we went to Foyles, The House of Minimalia and The Cursed Child Theatre on Sunday, The Harry Potter Studios on Monday and Rebecca and I (as Nicola had an early train back on Tuesday) went to Baker Street and the Sherlock Holmes Musuem on Tuesday (I am now the proud owner of the Complete Sherlock Holmes, thanks Rebecca!) as well as The British Library. All in all, it was a pretty great few days!

Here is just a small sample of the pictures I took at the Studios:

IMG_0264The cupboard under the stairs

IMG_0265The Great Hall

IMG_0274Yule Ball Outfits

IMG_0288The Gryffindor dormitory

IMG_0290The Mirror of Erised

IMG_0289All the wands

IMG_0292The Gryffindor Common Room

IMG_0302The Griffin Door

IMG_0307Dumbledore’s Office

IMG_0309Potions Classroom (sorry it’s a little blurry)

IMG_0323Hagrid’s Hut

IMG_0329The Staircase

IMG_0340The Burrow

IMG_0345The Horcruxes

IMG_0354Black Tapestry

IMG_0359The Ministry Statue

IMG_0364Umbridge’s Office

IMG_0370The Death Eaters Masks

IMG_0374The Pretty Mural

IMG_0388Hogwarts Express

IMG_0389Going through Platform 9 3/4

IMG_0403Marauders’ Map

IMG_0404Butterbeer

IMG_0405The Knight Bus

IMG_0406Privet Drive

IMG_0411The letters

IMG_0417Wizard Chess

IMG_0421The Potter House

IMG_0420The Bridge

IMG_0427The Weasley Car

IMG_0429Fawkes

IMG_0433Hedwig

IMG_0438Dobby

IMG_0437Thestral and Basilisk

IMG_0440Buckbeak

IMG_0443Diagon Alley

IMG_0471Hogwarts Model

IMG_0480Wands

IMG_0485The Philosopher’s Stone

(Honestly, this really is just a small snapshot of the photos I took, I have so many more!)

Okay so anyone else been to the Harry Potter Studios? Did you have just as amazing a time as I did? What was your favourite bit (if you’ve been?)? If you haven’t been, would you like to go? Let me know in the comments!

I will have a new discussion post for you guys, hopefully tomorrow and I think I might have another Thursday Quotables for you guys later on (maybe!).

Top Ten Tuesday #71

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Hi everyone! I actually scheduled this post in advanced, how cool is that (I barely ever schedule in advance!). By the time you guys read this, I will have got back from my what will hopefully be amazing few days in London where I’m heading off to tomorrow with my Uni friends! By this time on Tuesday, I will have been to the Harry Potter Studios and hopefully had an amazing time, (I will be doing a post all about my trip here on the blog on Tuesday, hence me scheduling this post in advance), though I don’t see how it will be possible for me to have a bad time, I mean it’s the Harry Potter Studios! Anyway, this week’s prompt was meant to be Top Ten Books I Have on My Shelf (or Goodreads TBR) From Before I Started Blogging, but I actually don’t have any books on my shelf or my Goodreads TBR from pre-2014 (when I started blogging), so I twisted the topic slightly to  be Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Goodreads TBR For A Year Or More (which I can assure you, I have a lot of!). I’m going to try to stick to 10, but it may not happen! Anyway, in no particular order, here are my top ten (I’m not going to include ones that I own, these are ones that I have not yet got and ones that have already been released as opposed to soon to be released, I need to narrow the list down somehow):

  1. The Darkest Minds-Alexandra Bracken-Added in January 2015

Okay, so this one is not entirely my fault, I added this in January not knowing that Alex Bracken didn’t have a UK publisher, so it wasn’t available in the UK. Yes, I could have bought it off Amazon, but if I can help it, I prefer to buy my books from actual book shops and I decided I wasn’t desperate enough for this one to order it from Amazon (not that I didn’t want to read it, I did and still do, but I had enough other books that getting this one was not desperate). Luckily, I now have a Uni friend who ordered them from the US so I’m going to borrow her copies of the series!

2. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower-Stephen Chbosky-Added in January 2015

Okay, so this has probably been on my thought TBR a lot longer than on my Goodreads TBR since after I saw the film, I did think, okay maybe I should read the book now. Anyway, long story short, years later and I still haven’t read it. I’m not really sure why, it’s just one of those books that is on my TBR, yet somehow always seems to slip under my radar.

3. The Fixer-Jennifer Lynn Barnes-Added in February 2015

This one sounds really cool, a contemporary political YA thriller, and I honestly don’t know why I haven’t bought it yet, I think it’s one of those cases where I get distracted by all of the pretty fantasy books (#sorrynotsorry) and forget about some of the other books on my TBR!

4. The Iron King-Julie Kagawa-Added in February 2015

I honestly don’t know why this one has flown under my radar for so long, it’s fantasy (my fave genre) and I’ve liked stories with faeries in the past, but I think because it’s an older fantasy I probably forget about it often because there are so many great new fantasy releases!

5. The DUFF-Kody Keplinger-Added in February 2015

I added this one because of the movie which I’ve watched and really enjoyed. I think I’m a little hesitant of reading it because my book/movie taste is completely opposite, what I hate in books, I usually love in movies and what I love in books, I may not be as keen on in films (case in point, I like gory scenes in books-to a degree and I actually enjoy being creeped out whilst reading, but am not so keen in movies. I’m not that keen on romance in books, but I love rom-coms), so I feel like I’m not sure whether I’d like the book as much as I liked the movie, because I look for different things in books as compared to movies. Still I feel like I will try to read this one, one day.

6. Anne and Henry-Dawn Ius-Added in February 2015

I honestly don’t know why I forgot about this book, I love the Tudors and the idea of Anne and Henry in modern day high school is totally appealing to me, but somehow after the release date for this passed, I totally forgot about it! Hopefully I will read it at some point because it does sound interesting.

7. The Girl On The Train-Paula Hawkins-Added in February 2015

I know, I know, I should have read this one by now, but like all of the others on my list, it just kept flying under the radar (but how Jo you ask, this book was everywhere? Well yes it was, but as I keep saying, I get distracted by the pretty fantasies, they call to me, I can’t help it!). I was hoping to read it before the movie came out, but since the movie comes out in September, I think that’s highly unlikely!

8. Made You Up-Francesca Zappia-Added in May 2015

This one sounded so amazing, a contemporary about a girl with schizophrenia. I actually added it because I was studying schizophrenia at the time as part of my Psychology A Level but somehow between then and now, I completely forgot about it. It still sounds like an interesting read and I would like to see if I can try it at some point.

9. Inkheart-Cornelia Funke-Added in May 2015

This sounds so cool, characters coming to life out of books, going into books, this is basically bookish heaven and it’s in my preferred genre, fantasy. So why have you not read it Jo, you ask? Well it’s actually one of my sister’s books not mine and I haven’t borrowed it yet. It may have ended up being cleared out in her move to Amsterdam, so this might be the push I needed to get my own copy!

10. Every Breath-Ellie Marney-Added in May 2015

This Sherlock retelling has been on my radar for ages, and I keep meaning to get it but again, just like with The Darkest Minds, I can’t find it in UK book shops and so the only way for me to get it is through Amazon, and as I’ve said earlier in the post, I prefer to get books from book shops if I can help it!

11. Pretending To Be Erica-Michelle Painchaud-Added in June 2015

This crime novel, billed as We Were Liars meets Heist Society (I’ve never read We Were Liars, but was very attracted by the Heist Society comparison), sounded really intriguing, so I added it to my TBR, then as usual, promptly forgot about it. Hopefully I will be able to pick this one up at some point.

12. Tiny Pretty Things-Sonia Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton-Added in June 2015

This is billed as Pretty Little Liars meets Black Swan and I really liked that description, I like the idea of soapy high school drama meets ballet. Why haven’t I picked it up yet? Well I think there’s just been books that have interested me more but this book is still firmly on my radar.

13. Miss Mabel’s School For Girls-Katie Cross-Added in June 2015

This kind of sounds like Hogwarts but strictly for girls? Anyway, I love boarding school books and I love magic books, so this book sounded perfect for me but for whatever reason, a year on and I still haven’t got it (again I think it’s my reluctance to buy on Amazon unless I’m really excited for a new book showing through). Hopefully I will get it eventually.

14. Hold Me Like A Breath-Tiffany Schmidt-Added in June 2015

I was really excited for this book when I added it. I was. After reading Unwind, the idea of anything to do with the black organ market was really interesting to me and this with black organ traders and warring mafia like families sounded incredible. Then I saw that the reviews of this weren’t exactly amazing and my excitement dampened a little. I still want to read this because I want to make up my own mind about it, but it’s hard to keep up a high level of excitement about a book when it has several negative reviews.

15. Scarlet-AC Gaughen-Added in August 2015

I love the idea of this book, a Robin Hood retelling with a female Will Scarlet (now I just need to find one with a female Robin Hood), and I’m in love with all things history, so a historical retelling sounded right up my alley but like so many other books, I completely forgot about this after I added it to my TBR (that’s the problem of having over 300 books on a TBR, I have learned). I would definitely like to read it at some point though.

I think that’s all for this week (ha ha my restraint from last week did not last very long) and I could probably have done more! Ah the curse of the ever expanding TBR (according to a quiz I took today it’s going to take me 25 years to finish my current TBR. Ha ha, as if. Make that more like 50 years, the books will keep on coming). What books have been on your TBR the longest? Do you have books on there from before you started blogging? Have you read any of these books?  Which should I read first? Let me know! Next week’s topic is a freebie, a back to school freebie, so I have to choose a back to school related topic, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what I choose. In the meantime, I should have a Wishlist Wednesday post for you guys tomorrow so stay tuned for that.

 

Thursday Quotables #42

Hey everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but what can I say, it’s been a busy summer on the blog! For this week, I decided to share quotes from A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab, as I loved that book when I read it earlier in the summer and am currently enjoying the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows. Anyway, here are my favourite quotes from A Darker Shade of Magic:

  1. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still” -Lila Bard

This is possibly my favourite quote from this book, in fact I liked it so much that I wrote it on the inside cover of my copy of the book.

2. “Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.” -Lila Bard

This made me laugh so hard when I read it.

3. “You know so little of war. Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.” -Holland

I just thought this was a really pretty quote.

4. “Love doesn’t keep us from freezing to death, Kell,” she continued, “or starving, or being knifed for the coins in our pocket. Love doesn’t buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need nothing.” -Lila Bard

I really liked this quote from Lila because Kell was having a bit of a self pity party at this part of the book and Lila really puts him in his place!

5. “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.” “I apologize for shooting you in the leg,” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.” -Rhy Maresh & Lila Bard

I loved this little exchange between Rhy and Lila.

That’s all I have for this week I’m afraid, just a small snapshot of my favourite quotes from A Darker Shade of Magic. Hopefully, I will have another one of these for you next week but in the meantime, I will definitely have a new discussion post for you guys in the next few days.

Wishlist Wednesday #38

Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been MIA from this feature for a few weeks, Wednesdays are always really busy for me, blog hopping trying to get around everyone’s TTT’s, so I don’t always get the time to do these posts! I do have one for you this week though, that is on my Wishlist after finishing the first book earlier this summer, the sequel to The Sword of Summer, the second book in the Magnus Chase trilogy, The Hammer of Thor:

the hammer of thorThor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series when I read it at the end of July/beginning of August, so naturally I’m desperate to read the sequel when it comes out in October. I can’t wait to return to this new Norse world and see what Magnus, Sam, Blitz and Hearth get up to next. Hopefully lots of misadventures! Also loving the cover for this one. My recent binge of Rick Riordan’s books has reminded me exactly why I love him so much (after the disappointment that was Blood Of Olympus), his books are so much fun to read and I cannot wait for this next instalment in what is looking to be a very promising new series from one of my favourite authors.

I will hopefully have new Wishlist Wednesday post for you guys next week but in the meantime, I should have a new Thursday Quotables post for you guys tomorrow.

Top Ten Tuesday #70

Hey everyone! Today is my 70th Top Ten Tuesday post. 70! How cool is that? It doesn’t seem like long ago that I was a TTT newbie and now I’ve done 70 TTT posts. This week’s prompt is kind of a freebie, it’s Top Ten Books With X Setting, so I’ve decided to do Fantasy Settings and pick my Top Ten Favourite Fantasy Settings to share with you guys (honestly did you ever doubt I’d do anything else?). So here we go, my Top Ten Favourite Fantasy Settings (these are as usual in no particular order!):

  1. The Londons-Shades of Magic Series-VE Schwab

I loved reading A Darker Shade of Magic earlier this summer and I am currently reading the second book of the series, A Gathering of Shadows and one of the reasons that I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so much is that I loved the settings of the different Londons (Red, Grey and White London) and how different they all felt and I’m still loving it in the sequel, I’m also loving getting to see more of the Red World, not just London but different places in Arnes.

2. Erilea-Throne of Glass Series-Sarah J Maas

Sarah J Maas has always done great world building in her Throne of Glass series and I have so loved being able to explore the world she has created and exploring different places in Erilea and beyond. I can’t wait to get to see Terrasen (hopefully!) in Empire of Storms.

3. Camp Half-Blood-Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Trials of Apollo-Rick Riordan

This is possibly my favourite fantasy setting ever (probably only beaten by Hogwarts). It just sounds like the most fun summer camp ever, it’s such a fun and vibrant fantasy setting so it’s hard to read about it and not completely fall in love (plus the fact that Percy’s there doesn’t hurt!). Plus if you were there you’d be a demigod which would be so cool! Where do I sign up to go to Camp Half-Blood????

4. Miraji-Rebel of The Sands-Alwyn Hamilton

I loved the rich, vibrant, Arabian/Wild West Desert setting of this book. I love books where the setting almost seems like a character itself and I felt this was definitely true with this book. I can’t wait to return to Miraji when the sequel to this book, Traitor To The Throne is released next year (WHY DOES THE WAIT HAVE TO BE SO LONG?).

5. Henrietta-The Raven Cycle-Maggie Stiefvater

I loved the setting for Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, the fictional town of Henrietta again seemed like another character in the book, it felt so alive and so infused with magic and I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. I seriously want to visit Virginia after reading this series!

6. The Faraway Tree-Faraway Tree Books-Enid Blyton

Okay so this is one from when I was a kid rather than a more recent one, but one of the reasons I loved these books so much when I was a kid was the setting of the Faraway Tree with the different lands at the top, I loved that idea of being able to climb a tree and find a different magical land at the top every week, I mean how cool would that be???

7. The Great Library-Ink and Bone-Rachel Caine

I loved the concept behind this book about a world where the Great Library of Alexandria survived and my favourite parts of the book where set in the Great Library, I really loved that setting (and Alexandria where the Library was because it’s not a common setting) and the world that Rachel Caine created within and around the Library.

8. Higher Insitute For Villainous Education (HIVE)-HIVE Series-Mark Walden

Not only is HIVE a school for young villains in training, which is cool enough in itself, the school is located INSIDE A VOLCANO? How cool is that?

9. Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry-Harry Potter Series-JK Rowling

Did you really think I could do a list like this without including Hogwarts? Of course not! This is possibly my favourite fantasy setting ever (although I love a lot of fantasy settings so it’s hard to choose), because it’s just such a wonderful, magical place and I am still waiting for my letter. This owl post is so slow!

10. Haven City-Artemis Fowl Series-Eoin Colfer

I love the idea of this underground world of fairies and it was such a vibrant world with such fun characters and when I was reading this series, I really enjoyed immersing myself in this world of elves and dwarves and sprites and pixies and all other manner of magical creatures.

I am going to restrain myself this week and just stick to ten, though I could obviously do more! What was your choice to fill the X we were given this week? Have you read any of the books with the settings on my list? What are your favourite fantasy settings (doesn’t necessarily have to be from a fantasy book, just a fictional place)? Next week’s topic is meant to be Top Ten Books I Have On My Shelf (Or TBR) from before I started blogging, but I don’t have that many on my shelf and I don’t have any books on my Goodreads TBR from pre-2014, so I’m going to twist the topic slightly and go with Top Ten Books That Have Been on My Goodreads TBR For A Year or More. In the meantime though, I should have a Wishlist Wednesday post for you guys tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.