A Conjuring of Light

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

Title: A Conjuring of Light

Author: V.E Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic # 3

Publication: February 21st 2017 by Tor Books

Pages: 624

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.


Basically Me By the End:

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The Year They Burned the Books

People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.

Title: The Year they Burned the Books

Author: Nancy Garden

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 5th 2017 by Open Road Media Teen Tween

Pages: 256

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

As the editor in chief of the Wilson High Telegraph, senior Jamie Crawford is supposed to weigh in on the cutting-edge issues that will interest students in her school. But when she writes an opinion piece in support of the new health curriculum—which includes safe-sex education and making condoms available to students—she has no idea how much of a controversy she’s stepped into.
 
A conservative school board member has started a war against the new curriculum, and now—thanks to Jamie’s editorial—against the newspaper as well. As Jamie deals with the fallout and comes to terms with her own sexuality, the school and town become a battleground for clashing opinions. Now, Jamie and the students at Wilson need to find another way to express their beliefs before prejudice, homophobia, and violence define their small town.


My Thoughts:

I am sad to say that I am one of those certain individuals who has never read Annie on my Mind, nor do I plan to. I know it’s supposed to be amazing, but it simply has never interested me. Now, imagine my surprise when I got a notification for this book – by the same author. So I decided to give it a shot. What I found was a sucker punch of a story considering our current political state today. The Year They Burned the Books is a masterful conglomerate of censorship, bullying, coming-of-age, homophobia, friendship, free speech, PTA mom politics, and sexuality. It is brutal, honest, and action based rather than character focused. You fall into the plot, and you get swept away by the visceral reality that the events in this book are still very much happening at this moment in time. It’s a bit of a startling wake up call.

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A Gathering of Shadows

“Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don’t want to die – dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.” 

Title: A Gathering of Shadows

Author: V.E Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic # 2

Publication:  February 23rd 2016 by Tor Books

Pages: 512

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as 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.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.


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A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

“People got tired of mental illness when they found out they couldn’t fix it.”

Title: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

Author: Krystal Sutherland

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 5th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them. 

Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares. 

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • This book is unexpected, in a great way. It’s long for a contemporary, but also worth it? It sort of just… catches you by surprise.
  • It’s cute and also has its ups and downs. It’s more than a romance – it remains true to itself. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a detailed story about mental illness without sacrificing the quirks that make it more than just another YA contemporary about mental illness.
  • I really love bucket list based books. There is something so fascinating about planning out your worst fears or deepest desires and then trying to follow through with them in some way. Plus, there is always another addition for the plot.
  • My favorite part of the book had to be Esther and Eugene’s relationship and her discourse on depression. It was simple, yet profound and accurate and it was refreshing to read.
  • The fantasy elements provided an eerie sense of magical realism to the novel – readers are left unsure of what is fact and what is made up… and it’s quite disconcerting in the best way possible for a book of this type.
  • One downside is the lack of concrete setting till about halfway through the book. I was very confused, which might have been intentional but I’m not really sure. I had a hard time placing the characters in the real world, or any world, really.
  • The characters and the exploration of mental illness, and the different kinds and ways it affects people on an individual type basis was handled well. It was detailed, informative, but not nuanced. Most issues were given the time and space they deserved.
  • The romance was super cute, enough said, right? CUTE! Just Jonah is precious and I love him and I kind of want one.


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Girls Made of Snow and Glass

“You’ll see too, one day. Once you grow older, someone else will be waiting to take your place, someone younger and prettier than you. I knew that day was approaching for me. I knew even when you were still a child. So why am I so surprised to learn that I’m being thrown aside? Why am I always so surprised?”

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Series: Standalone

Publication:  September 5th 2017 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.


My Thoughts:

You know those times when you struggle to get into a book regardless of its wonders? That is how I felt with Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Honestly, I can’t tell you if it was over hyped or if I simply missed the underlying message of what was going on. I’d heard amazing things about the book. I’d heard it was a wonderful feminist retelling of Snow White… but I struggled regardless. There was, is, so much more beyond the surface of this book and, in all honesty, I simply didn’t give it the time it deserved.

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A Darker Shade of Magic

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

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic # 1

Publication: February 24th 2015 by Tor Books

Pages: 400

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

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Blog Tour: I Hate Everyone But You

“I don’t subscribe to labels. Unless I’m labeling other people.” 

Title: I Hate Everyone But You

Authors: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 5th 2017 by Wednesday Books

Pages: 352

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

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