A Darker Shade of Magic By V. E. Schwab

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Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

Again I’m behind the hype on a book, but hey at least it gives me time to form my own expectations. 🙂

A Darker Shade of Magic has a truly interesting world. Though a bit confusing to understand at first, you soon get the basic gist of it all and it doesn’t take away from the reading experience too much. You have a world that encompasses several different worlds, and a dark magic that’s spreading between them all. Of course because of this you have your hero who is the one and only savior, thankfully our main character Kell doesn’t have to much of a  special snowflake complex.

The magic in this world is pretty cool. From Kell’s changeling coat, to being able to pass between worlds and everything in between. I found myself fascinated with that part. And the writing is beautiful, Schwab does an excellent job describing the world.

The one thing about this book is it’s very predictable. The characters are really nothing new, nor are their actions. It’s easy to see who was going to die in the end, and I was really disappointed with Delilah’s “I’m different than other girls” attitude. I loved that Kell was a smuggler and collector, and I thought it was adorable that Delilah wanted to be a pirate.

I didn’t hate this book, I just didn’t love it.  I was never connected enough to the characters to feel much of anything for them. And I never cheered them on the way I wanted to.  Overall I would say it’s a fine book, and I am curious about the sequel.  3 stars.

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Promoting Creativity – May 2017 Edition

Welcome to the May Edition of Promoting Creativity! This month I interviewed Lauren Walsburg, I hope you all enjoy reading this and that you go over to her blog and follow her.
1) Tell us a bit about what you do.
I am and I do so many different things. I am a writer, blogger, and editor. I am a student and seeker of knowledge. I am a reader. I enjoy painting and sketching when I am gifted with rare spare time.
My first collection of poetry, Ink Stained Heart, was released this year. I am the Editor of Into The Well (an annual speculative fiction anthology) and Fiction Editor of Cauldron Anthology (a magazine of the wild feminine). I am the owner of Wisteria Press, a freelance editing and publishing service.
2) When and why did you start writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was in high school, but it wasn’t until I’d finished high school that I realised I wanted to make writing my career. I don’t have one form or genre that I write in; I like to experiment. I write because it helps me understand what is happening in my head. Writing allows me to explore my emotions, thoughts, and interests.
3) Tell us about a project that you are currently working on that has you really excited.
I have a few different projects at the moment. I am working on a collection of short stories called Knotted Moments. The stories vary in subject matter, but they all have one thing in common, they explore moments in life. I’m also working on a couple of novels: a biological sci-fi story that has a war between species, and a young adult fantasy novel set in the fictional kingdom of Asgaroda. I also have a couple of other projects in the works that I’m still hashing out.
4) What are some of your goals for the future?
 
I have so many things I want to do. I want to continue self-publshing my poetry and short stories. I want to have my novels published with a major publisher. I want to grow my editing business. I want to read as many stories as I possibly can in a lifetime. I want to go on a world cruise. I want to witness something beautiful and singular. I want go skydiving. I want to write something that helps someone in someway. I want to make the unhappiest person in the world smile. I want to live a long and happy life that is filled with adventure, new experiences, and laughter.
5) How can we support you?
You can:

May Reading Wrap-Up

I know there’s still four more days left in the month, but I have some posts planned for the later days and thought it would be a good idea to get this one out of the way.

I’ve been doing a ton of reading lately.  Currently I have 33 books out on loan from the library, have finished a total of 120 books for the year and read 21 books this month.

4 Star Reads: 

A fantastic total of 8 four star books this month!  I was able to read some non-fiction this month, which was fun. Most of them were books on writing since I’ve had some writer’s block and I was hoping for inspiration.  I also read a translation of Sappho’s poetry which was really beautiful, probably my favorite of all these books.  Though Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit was also a pretty great read.

3 Star Reads: 

Of course I usually have more 3 star reads than anything. This month’s total is 10. There were some fairly good reads in here, despite the 3 star rating.  Miss Jane was intriguing but it wasn’t as emotional as I wanted it to me. Once In Loudres was interesting but disturbing. Some of the books were predictable, others just didn’t hold my interest as much as I wanted them to.

2-1 Star Reads: 

Only three books! I’m always happy when my 2 star or lower ratings are few. Art is Spiritual Path was rambly and boring, I was hoping it would be more insightful. Caraval was the most predictable book I’ve read in awhile, as well as all the YA stereotypes thrown together. And Saffire made me uncomfortable, it’s about a white man saving a black slave girl and it just felt a little racist so I stopped reading.

 

What did you read this month? 

 

More Comic Books Reads in 2017

Sex Criminals 2-3: 

Synopsis: Collecting 6-15 these two comics continue the story about two humans who can freeze time when they orgasm. 

Find both on Goodreads. 

I was able to get these for a really great price at my local used bookstore, but I found that I was sort of disappointed in the continuation of the story.  The first volume was hilarious, it didn’t take itself seriously and it was just a really great read overall. I felt like these next two books didn’t have the same hilarity. Instead they took a more “realistic” turn. The second volume was a lot about depression and thus I found it very depressing. Which was not what I wanted to read about.  The third volume was very meta and I honestly found it more annoying that entertaining. Overall both volumes were a 2.5 read.

Nimona:

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Goodreads Synopsis: Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.  

My brother-in-law had a copy of this fantastic novel and lent it to me. I admit I read this in just a couple hours because it was so good. Nimona is everything you want in a fantasy adventure story for young adults. It’s fun, it’s magical and the art style is simply stunning.  I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that this was a five star read for me and I highly highly recommend it.

Low Vol 2:

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Goodreads Synopsis: Will Stel Caine rise from the depths to become first human in millennia to set foot on the surface of the Earth? Who is the relentless Minister of Thought on a quest to put an end to Stel’s attempt to restore the light to a dying world?

Collecting: Low 7-10

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

This collection was three stars compared to the first one’s four star rating by me. Though the artwork is still lovely, and the characters are pretty great as well, I felt like the plot was a little slow.  It dragged in a few places, and thus the reason for the lower rating. I still think this series is still interesting though, and I plan on reading the third volume.

Conclave By Robert Harris

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Goodreads Synopsis: The Pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

This was a random pick up at the library.  Since I was catholic when I was a kid I thought it would be an interesting read.  And I was right!

Conclave is an easy read fiction story. It takes you behind the scenes, it gives you the politics, the prayers and the ambition behind naming the new Pope.  The main character is the tired but likable Jacopo Lomeli, he is the Dean and therefore in charge of managing the conclave.  We see the story primarily through his eyes.

As the mystery unfolds I felt like the author did a good job of pacing, and of building up the readers guesses as to who will be the next Pope.  At the end of the story I was pretty sure I knew who it would be, but even I was surprised but the final twists.

This book was a four star read for me. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has read the book, and if so what they thought of it.