Sunday, July 14, 2019

REVIEW: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★

It's been four months since Delilah Bard left Kell and Red London behind to sail the high seas. But she's baaaaack... and just as much a kickass as before!!! Whereas Kell took center stage in the first book, I'd have to say this one focuses a great deal on Lila and follows her high sea adventures in great detail. Don't worry though, Kell, Rhy and the rest of the gang are still here too, and the author moves smoothly between Red London, White London, and the high seas.

While the royal family is preparing for the Element Games—an extravagant and entertaining competition of magic among the various nations—a London from another world is stirring back to life... and bringing some dark magic along with it.

If you enjoyed the first book in the series as much as I did, you'll definitely want to pick this one up next. Warning, it ends on a cliffhanger though so be prepared with the third and final book waiting in the wings.

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Sunday, June 09, 2019

REVIEW: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★

Kell is one of a dying breed—an Antari magician with the rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There's Red London with it's opulence and benevolent rulers—its magic in a healthy balance. Grey London contains no magic at all, and most people aren't even aware of its existence. In White London, magic is used to control, and power is seized and stolen by power-hungry rulers. And finally Black London, which has long since fallen into oblivion, where magic rules, corrupts, and overtakes. Intrigued yet?

The doors between the worlds are sealed and only Antari can travel through, so when Kell inadvertently smuggles a forbidden item back into Red London, some precarious magic is released, and he suddenly becomes a hunted man. On escaping to Grey London, Kell meets a street smart thief named Delilah Bard, who's determined to help and is ready for a proper adventure. But now, the wild, treacherous magic is leeching through Red London, seeping into all corners... and if Kell and Lila plan to stop it, they must first save themselves!

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. It falls into what's called Gaslamp Fantasy—a magical version of the 19th century. Think Steampunk's more magically-inclined relative... The name was new to me too so I googled it. There was little to no romance here, which I appreciated since I don't like that swooning ooey gooey stuff. ;)

But WOW! This was a great read I had a hard time putting down! The magic, the parallel Londons, the Victorian time period... thieves, royalty, and a kickass female lead! Awesome sauce! I fell in love with Lila! “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” Words to live by girl... words to live by! <3 I'm anxiously looking forward to reading A Gathering of Shadows, the next in the series, which I actually started before I even completed this review! LOL

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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

REVIEW: Claimed (Servants of Fate #2) by Sarah Fine

Claimed by Sarah Fine
My Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Claimed is the second book in the Servants of Fate trilogy and picks up pretty much right where Marked leaves off. Here, we move to Galena and Dec as the main characters, instead of Eli and Cacia.

While I thought Marked was unique and interesting in it's world building, the magic had worn off by the time I got to book 2. I'm not much into romance and this one was just a bit too much for me. Parts of the story seemed forced, and while I found it a bit tedious at times, I finished reading it nonetheless, simply because there was enough action going on to keep me entertained.

However, I'm not into it enough to want to read the final book... or am I? Honestly, I've got too many other good books waiting here for me to waste my time on mediocre. Sorry Ms. Fine, but your work just isn't doing it for me.

That said, this got lots of good reviews, and those who like a lot of romance in their stories may like it better than I did.

Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

REVIEW: Marked (Servants of Fate #1) by Sarah Fine

Marked by Sarah Fine
My Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Cacia and her family are Ferrys. Not only is that their last name, but it's also their part-time occupation. ;) When someone passes on, the Ferrys are responsible for transporting them from the the in-between to their final destination, whether that be Heaven or Hell. The Ferrys have their nemesis—the Kere—who are the reapers. They are the ones that mark people for Death—not of their own accord, but via an order that comes from above, namely the Fates who weave the fabric of life. All this works as it should... most of the time.

Eli Margolis and his sister Galena arrive in future Boston from the barren wasteland of Pittsburgh. Galena has been offered a very prestigious research position at Harvard University, working on the cure to all infectious diseases. But her research could put a huge dent in the profits of the Ferrys and the Kere, a rogue Ker is determined to put a stop to it!

The author built a very unique world here, unlike any other fantasy/paranormal books I've come across. It definitely falls into the paranormal romance genre however, so there were some intimate scenes that seemed a bit forced and out of place. One can ignore that as they delve into the fascinating world the author has created here. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.

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Friday, April 05, 2019

REVIEW: The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆
"In this best selling business fable, The Energy Bus, takes listeners on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment - at work and at home."

I really enjoyed this book. A lot of the beginning stuff I already knew—and for the most part, already practice—in my own life and (hopefully) my business dealings as well. But even throughout this part that was a bit of a review, the surrounding story was highly engaging and entertaining, allowing me to better retain some of the "rules of the bus".

Some of the later rules—a little over halfway through—progressed into newer territory for me. I enjoyed expanding my brain, and was really drawn in to the way the story was told. Maybe it's because I listened to it in audiobook, I don't know, but Jon Gordon was really good with the different voices of the various characters. I had such a vivid image of Joy in my head as a big, beautiful black woman with a smile from ear to ear every time he read her lines!

I'd definitely recommend this for leaders and business builders who want to motivate and encourage their team.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

REVIEW: Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

Season of the Witch
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★

What a ride! Gabriel Blackstone is a thief and dealer in information. But he's also a Remote Viewer (RV)—able to see through the eyes of another person—a pretty freaky skill if you ask me! And according to the prologue, a real skill—though a bit more watered down than depicted here. An old flame of Gabriel's calls on him to help him find her missing stepson. At first he declines to help, but just a little taste of seeing through Robert Whittington's eyes and he's hooked.

I'm sorry I waited so long to read this one. I actually read two of her other works first, but I guess you could say I saved the best for last! This was a thrilling, wild ride, and I highly recommend it to others interested not only in mystery, but also the esoteric.

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Thursday, February 07, 2019

REVIEW: The Dark Victorian: Bones (Volume 2) by Elizabeth Watasin

My Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

The second installment in the Dark Victorian series finds Secret Commission agents Art and Jim Dastard, a reanimated artificial ghost and animated skull respectively, on the hunt for a black market doctor removing the bones and organs from particular individuals and transplanting them into others. Known as the Bone Stealer, this doctor of highly questionable morals is literally taking from the poor and giving to the rich, those wealthy enough to afford his services.

This was a highly entertaining read, which I finished back in 2015, but for some reason never completed a review for. For that reason, I can't really comment more specifically beyond the original blurb I wrote above. However, I do recall liking it just as much, if not more so than Risen, the first in the series.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

REVIEW: Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face
My Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

I know a lot of people that loved this book, but it didn't contain any earth-shattering revelations for me. Sure, it was fun and quirky, and I like her writing style, but for me personally, it wasn't as "self-helping" as I'd have hoped.

Still, it gives a lot of good advice—with plenty of entertaining storytelling—that will probably help a lot of people feel better about themselves and possibly even give some direction to their lives. For me, I probably need the more advanced version of these concepts. LOL :D

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