ARC Review: The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

If you follow me on pretty much any social media platform, you already know how excited I am for this book to hit shelves everywhere. If you don’t, this is basically me:

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So when I won a signed ARC near the beginning of the Devil’s Own contest, well, see the above gif. I didn’t let myself tear through it like I wanted to, but instead savored every page and spaced it out a bit. Before I jump into my review, there are a few TW/CWs I noticed. Let’s do this thing!

  • racism
  • homophobia
  • physical abuse (familial)
  • terrorism

Remember that slow burn romance we talked about from The Last Magician and how I was so excited they finally faced facts and sort of got together at the end? Well, LOL at me because the slow burniness is back. (Yes, that’s totally a word.) I LOVE the characters in this novel. I was also really excited to get to see some new point of view characters and get to know them a bit. I feel like they were all developed really well. I also love seeing the additional character development on the existing characters. They were all quite three-dimensional before, but now I feel like I’m getting to know them a bit better.

We’ve moved forward a bit! The world from The Last Magician is continued and built upon. However, The Devil’s Thief is split between 1902 New York City, which was fully built up in The Last Magician but does get a bit of building in this novel, and 1904 St. Louis. I really like what Lisa Maxwell did with both locations and timelines and honestly I’m not sure how she did it? Clearly, Lisa Maxwell is Mageus because the world building was incredibly complex and immersive.

The story itself flows really well. I love how many plot twists there were, some of which I never saw coming! There were a few that were obviously meant for me because the characters didn’t gain the information that I did, and for the most part they hit their mark. The pace of the story is considerably fast, diving right into the action from page one. I really enjoyed the story, right up to the cliffhanger at the end.

I’m not super excited about the cliffhanger ending, but I am super excited to see what happens next! I absolutely adore Lisa Maxwell’s writing. I’ll probably pick up something else she’s written in the near future, but for now I’ll be rereading The Last Magician along with the Read Along that runs through October 8th. 😀

Overall, I rate The Devil’s Thief 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself when it’s released on 9 October! (Also, the author has some pretty nice preorder goodies available. Just saying. Everyone likes awesome free bookish things! :D)

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Bookish Soundtrack: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

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Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I read Fawkes by Nadine Brandes last month and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I enjoyed it but there’s also something about it that still nags at me a little? I still haven’t figured out what that thing was and the book has faded enough that I don’t feel comfortable reviewing it, so I just haven’t.

In the end, I think I’m rating it a 3.5 bookworms out of 5. You can add it on Goodreads and judge for yourself. If you’ve read it, tell me what your thoughts were or link your review in the comments and I’ll check that out! 🙂

Regardless, the themes in Fawkes were very strong and that prompted me to create a playlist for it. So, without further adieu, here it is!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/vicariousbookworm/playlist/2IkRyk2Ug7pVjn3I3Oq6KU

Are there any songs you would add?

Do you think any of the songs don’t fit the themes or characters of the novel?

Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

Audiobook Review: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

Hello there, bookworms and dragons! I finished listening to Conjuring of Light this morning and my heart is still a bit sore but let’s dig into this review anyway because who needs sleep, amirite? I didn’t notate any TW/CWs, but I do remember thinking “I should add that to my list of TW/CWs.” A thought that was consistently followed by a lack of action, leading up to now where I know there are some TW/CWs that should be added but I’ve not got a clue what any of them are at the moment. If you’ve read the book and you noticed something that could use a TW/CW, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post! 🙂

The characters are the biggest highlight for me. Lila Bard is by far my favourite, but there are so many secondary characters that I just completely love. Which is why this book hurt so damn much. I won’t spoil because I refuse to spoil but my faves… they were not safe. And neither are yours if you pick this up. I just… can’t. I’m not ready to think about them yet.

There are a few new locations added in this one and they’re all fairly immersive locations, which was awesome because of what they were. My favourite new location is definitely the floating market because WHAT EVEN. It was amazing. Nothing is really added to the world building aside from the new locations, so picking up this book before picking up the first two is just not an option world building wise, though honestly why would you pick up the last book in a trilogy before the first two? I don’t know but people are people so I feel it should be said. You know, just in case.

The story picks up pretty much right where A Gathering of Shadows left off, which is excellent because of the way that novel ended. I. E. It just kinda stopped and assumed you’d continue the next story. I wasn’t happy with that ending, but this novel already being on the shelves did a lot to soften my frustration there. The ending of A Conjuring of Light, however, didn’t do a whole lot better. Yes, there is an ending and, yes, most of the major threads are tied up by the time we get to it. BUT. I still have some questions and a couple of them are big. I won’t put any of them here because I am still anti-spoiler, but… There are questions. I did really enjoy the story in this one and there was so much action and such good plot twists that I had trouble not listening through work and skipping sleep for it!

I was relieved when I turned on the audiobook and learned that the narrators for this novel would be the same as the ones for A Gathering of Shadows. One thing that irritates me is when the narrator changes every single book and with the change from the first book to the second, I was worried this would happen again with this novel. As with A Gathering of Shadows, I think Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did an excellent job bringing this story to life. I look forward to hearing more of their work in the future.

All in all, I’m really happy with this novel and I’m already planning on picking up Victoria Schwab’s other work. I’m planning to listen to the digital audiobooks for her Young Adult series on my long drive later this month and I’m hoping to pick up her Villains series, but I might wait until it’s completed just in case of cliff hangers.

Overall, I rate A Conjuring of Light 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

The Next Chapter: September TBR & To-Do

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September is one of my favourite months and I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time now. Let’s kick this baby off right with a TBR and To-Do list! 😀

Books I Hope To Read In September

I’m going to follow suite with the rest of the year and keep this TBR modest so I can feel successful while still straying wildly. 🙂

I’m leaving it extra short this month because I’m going on a road trip later in the month and I need all the audiobook recommendations please and thank you! 😀 The two books that have * beside them are my picks for Banned Books Week.

Other Things I Hope To Do In September

As I said, I’m going to be taking a long drive closer to the end of the month. I’m really looking forward to the drive and being able to see one of my best friends. I also really need all of the audiobook recommendations so if you know of any particularly good ones, please let me know in the comments. 🙂

September is REPTEMBER because I get to be a rep for my favourite little candle company, Canterbury Road Co. Seriously, the candles are amazing and Shan (the owner) is amazing. I’m so excited to be working with her again! Also, if you haven’t checked out her Autumn Collection… 😍😍 DO IT!

I’m participating in the official readalong of The Last Magician with Lisa Maxwell. If you’ve been on the fence about reading it, now’s a great time to because if you Register Here you get cool snail mail from the author while you read!

I’m going to be coloring my hair again. This time, it’ll be blue, purple, and turquoise because mermaid vibes are always a good thing.

I’m in a wedding and no it’s not mine. My best friend is getting married (which is actually why I’m taking the long drive) and I get to stand up there with her! I’m really excited about everything except the pictures. I do hate pictures.

I’ll be finalizing my application of this apartment I’ve been looking at for months now. Fingers crossed!!

That’s all I can think of at the moment but September is looking like it’ll be an awesome month. What’s something you’re looking forward to this month? 📚🐛

Turning the Page: August 2018 Wrap Up

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So… I blinked and somehow missed August ending? Let’s wrap it up before we get too much further into September! 😅

Books I Read In August

August was kind of a slow month for me reading wise and it’s mostly because of work. While most of the time I read during my lunch break or listen to an audiobook while I’m preparing for a program, this month I’ve been doing more planning than preparing, which requires quite a bit more focus and time. I’ve even been working through my lunch on things because there aren’t enough hours in the day. Thankfully, my reading goals were also modest. Here’s what I actually read.

The ones with the * beside them are the ones I read that I hoped to at the beginning of the month. I also reread parts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone but not the whole novel so I’m not counting it. I have not come even close to finishing On Truth and Untruth but I am still reading it little by little.

Other Things I Did In August

This is the difficult part because I honestly don’t remember most of August? It kind of flew by in a blink. Let’s see…

Bookworm of the Week is still a thing I want to continue doing and I’ve been bad about it this month. The one bookworm I highlighted this month was The Grim Reader.

I was able to participate in the blog tour for Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi, which is a three-novella book set in the world of The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. I definitely recommend checking out my review of it on the tour if you even considered reading either of these novels, though they are spoilery if you haven’t read the novels already.

I created a Bookish Soundtrack! This is something I’ve considered doing in the past and I’ve seen people make playlists for books before but I never realized how fun it was. I may make more in the future but honestly it kind of depends on the books I’m reading. I’m kinda working on one for one of the series I’m working my way through right now, but so far the only one I’ve posted here is for The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell.

I’ve gotten all set to kick off a book-to-film book club for kids at work and I’m SO EXCITED to see how it goes!

I’ve started looking into what I need to do to prepare for my GRE so I can go to librarian school. I’ve gotten more into the idea of doing this lately, even though I won’t actually be starting until next autumn. It’s something I’m kind of looking forward to and preparing for?

I purchased the next colors for my hair, which will be blue, purple, and turquoise because I need ALL THE MERMAID VIBES. 🧜‍♀️

I started collecting the final paperwork needed to finish applying for the apartment I’m hoping to get. I’m a bit nervous and a bit excited and I’m trying not to be too hopeful about it, but that’s happening as well.

That’s really all I can think of for this one so yay that was August! I hope your month was a wonderful one! 📚🐛

Audiobook Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Hello, bookworms and dragons, and welcome to today’s episode of Kitty Is Writing A Review So She Can Let Herself Start Reading / Listening To The Next Book In A Series! That is a horribly long title and it kind of explains why we didn’t make it past the pilot… Anyway! I finished listening to the audiobook of A Gathering of Shadows today and I already have the next digital audiobook checked out from the library but I have this thing where I don’t like to start reading the next book until I’ve finished writing my review of the last one in the series I read (see the horrible title above) because it kind of blends together for me once I do that and I don’t feel like I can write a review of anything from that point on. (That is why you’ll occasionally see me review the first book or two in a series but not any of the subsequent novels.) I didn’t note any specific TW/CWs while I listened to this one and I can’t really remember any off the top of my head just now so let’s just dive right into the review.

It was really great to get back to the characters I enjoyed so much in A Darker Shade of Magic just a few months later. I like that a sizable chunk of time has passed, but that it hasn’t been so much that they’ve changed a lot. I especially like seeing how things have progressed from that one major plot point in the first novel that I will not spoil but OMG. There were times during A Gathering of Shadows where I just wanted to scream about the things that happen because of that thing that happened. My favorite character is still Lila Bard, though Alucard is definitely a close second. He’s such an interesting and complex character and I can’t wait to see more of him.

A Gathering of Shadows took the world I understood from the first novel and built subtly upon it, adding nuance and depth. What it did not do AT ALL, however, was build up the world itself in general. If I hadn’t read the first novel, I would have had NO IDEA what was going on with the world or what its rules were, so it is definitely not a standalone novel. The new location descriptions were done in a way so as to make it an immersive experience, but the locations that received a good amount of detail in the first novel received little to no detail here.

As I said before, the story begins about four months after the first novel left off, giving the characters time to grow into and fully experience their new positions in life. I really enjoyed the addition of the tournament and I feel like that’s where a lot of the action went. I do, unfortunately, feel like A Gathering of Shadows basically acts as a stepping stone between the first and third novels in this trilogy, giving just enough of a plot to let us know where the full story is going, but not really able to stand on its own story-wise at all. That was kind of disappointing for me, which I should have seen coming when Autumn told me she was disappointed by it too. Also, HUGE CLIFFHANGER WHYYYYY

There were two narrators for A Gathering of Shadows: Kate Reading and Michael Kramer. Honestly, they were both adequate and I probably would like their narration a lot if it was of a different novel or series so I’ll be on the lookout for their work in the future. The problem I had with this, though, was that neither of them is Steven Crossley, who narrated A Darker Shade of Magic and did so phenomenally.

I did enjoy this story and I am looking forward to finding out what happens in the final novel of this trilogy. But. I just really feel like it could have been better. Maybe it was because I had such high hopes? Maybe it was because the first novel set the expectations bar exceedingly high? Maybe it was because I’m cranky and nothing will please me at this point? I don’t know. The general feel I have for this one is “I enjoyed it but I wanted it to be better.”

Overall, I rate A Gathering of Shadows 3 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself.

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

After what feels like ages of having A Darker Shade of Magic on my TBR (and after becoming sufficiently late to the party), I’ve finally gotten around to reading this first book in a very hyped series. I’d like to say it’s mostly because of the hype that I’ve not read this sooner, but honestly it’s more likely that my TBR has a mind of its own at this point. I didn’t mark any TW/CWs in Goodreads while I listened and I don’t remember any in particular, but if you let me know any that you noticed while reading it I’ll happily update this post! Let’s go ahead and jump right into my review.

I read something a while ago about Victoria Schwab’s writing process and how she goes into details for each of her characters, so I went into this expecting big things. I was not at all disappointed. The characters each took on their own life within the story and became so much more than just characters on a page. Victoria Schwab breathes life into them and they are all extraordinarily realistic and three-dimensional. I could easily imagine having a conversation with each and every one of them, though (for obvious reasons) I would actively avoid meeting a few.

The world with the three (or four?) Londons is very complex and layered. It is one world while also simultaneously being three worlds. It’s all so masterfully built up, layer upon layer, through the story that I was hardly conscious of my growing understanding of it until suddenly I simply did. Throughout the novel, I was thoroughly immersed in the world and the rules of it to the point that it slightly invaded my own reality, a concept both impressive and a little nerve racking.

The story itself flowed very nicely from beginning to end. There was just enough at the beginning to help me know the world and characters a bit, setting my expectations of how things would “normally” be without a metaphorical monkey wrench being thrown in before said wrench made its way into the plot. Each time I started to get comfortable or I started to think I knew how things were going to go, there would be a plot twist just big enough to throw me off and build up tension a bit. There was never a point where I thought the story wouldn’t find at least some resolution, even if that took until the end of the series to happen. I wasn’t quite expecting the end of this novel to be so fulfilling and it almost feels a little too quick? But I do like how there aren’t a lot of loose ends here and only enough to keep me interested in continuing reading the series.

Steven Crossley, who narrated A Darker Shade of Magic, did an excellent job! His voice is smooth and easy to listen to and the way he intones the story is fairly close to perfect. I also like how he not only changes his voice to encompass each character, but his intonation changes as well, bringing that extra something to the story. I really hope he is the narrator for the rest of the series and I look forward to hearing more of his work.

I’m kicking myself for accidentally returning the digital audiobook of the next book to the library. Ugh what was I thinking?! The book definitely lives up to the high expectations I had for V. E. Schwab’s writing and I am super excited to read and listen to more of her work.

Overall, I rate A Darker Shade of Magic 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!