Review: A Darker Shade Of Magic

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V E SchwabIMG_20171116_101544_175

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.

My Thoughts

I wasn’t blown away by this film like I thought I would be after all the hype I’d seen on Bookstagram. Although, saying that I still really enjoyed the book and I am looking forward to reading the next book. Why did I enjoy it? Well let me tell you.

I loved the way Kell and Lila bounced off each other, they worked so well together and Lila is so refreshing in the sea of stereotyped female characters that are naive and generally annoying. She’s sarcastic, funny, confident and brave and honestly one of my favourite female characters from the books I’ve read this year and probably over the last few years. Kell is good too, maybe a little egotistical but not overbearingly so which helps because he is a very good character even though he does make a few mistakes every now and then.

The book gives a new take on magic and of course the 4 Londons are very interesting, especially Black London. The idea of savage royals and dark magic that consumes you makes you want to read on and the characters are all good but I think the side characters all need a little development because the book mainly focuses on Kell and Lila so they’re the only ones who really get developed and I think that may be why I wasn’t completely wowed! Either way the story was good and the main characters were enjoyable but I hope there is more development for the other characters in the following books. I’m looking forward to reading AGOS and seeing what happens when Lila returns to Red London.

Awarded: 4.5 Stars


I really do hope the next book in this series is better but even if it’s of the same quality then I’m sure it will still be enjoyable.

Until next time, happy reading guys!

Rachel x

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Review: Throne Of Glass

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J Maas20171007_162545

Synopsis

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

My Thoughts

I loved the complex character of Celaena and her background (which i can’t wait to find out more about when I get to The Assassin’s Blade) even though there is only very little detail about her past, mainly focusing on her time at the Salt Mines before being found by Dorian and Choal. Celaena’s confident and blunt character is refreshing compared to the naive and annoying Feyre, she’s never afraid to speak her mind even to royalty which some may find annoying but Dorian and Choal seem to find endearing. She’s a strong character who you root for throughout, especially given her success even at such a young age and against other talented criminals, assassins and soldiers.

The competition that Celaena has to participate in does remind me slightly of the Trials that Feyre had to endure but I prefer the Assassin’s competition, partly because it’s full of action and weaponry but also because it shows Celaena’s skills even when she’s try hold back, as well as that it shows her compassion and respect for the other competitor, especially Nox. The friendship between the two I like, it seems real and well thought out giving the two assassins more than just their skills and grounding them, showing them as real people instead of just ruthless assassins. SJM also successfully fits magic into the story  and plot which I thought may have been a little clunky and unneeded but how the magic ties into the actual plots makes it all just fit and flow together to great effect.

The book is intriguing and has some great and believable relationships mainly revolving around Celaena and how she is with other characters. Everyone has a place in this book and they all bring something to the story that gives it body and makes you want to carry on reading. Also, the book isn’t just from Celaena’s point of view so you get to see things from other people and you get to see even more parts of the plot being fleshed out, without the few chapters dedicated to other characters then is book could have been quite dull because it would have left some of the plot meaning it may have ended up confusing and just boring but SJM did this well and it all helps the plot along because you see that what’s happening in the palace isn’t also effecting the other characters as well Celaena.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and see how he story develops through it.

Awarded: 4.5 Stars


I hope I’ll be able to read Crown Of Midnight this month (it’s already December?) and I hope it’s as good as ToG if not better!

Until next time, happy reading guys!

Rachel x

Review: Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb

Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb by R L Stine20171105_142534

Synopsis

Gabe just got lost–in a pyramid. One minute, his crazy cousin Sari was right ahead of him in the pyramid tunnel. The next minute, she’d disappeared. But Gabe isn’t alone. Someone else is in the pyramid, too. Someone. Or some thing. Gabe doesn’t believe in the curse of the mummy’s tomb. But that doesn’t mean that the curse isn’t real. Does it?

My Thoughts

My second experience of a Goosebumps book was actually better than the first. Even though Stay Out Of The Basement was great, Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb just had this kind of darkness that I didn’t really expect from a kids book. Okay they’re horror books for kids so of course they should be dark in some ways but I never expected kidnapping and near death and all the things that did happen in this book. I loved this strange little story based in the most famous of Pyramids but if I had to read the word “outstanding” just one more time I may have screamed.

It’s an interesting take on the classic Mummy Myth and has some great characters, especially the children who actually at like children. With the kids always trying to out do each other but still caring about each other under all the acts is what I actually love about the two characters, they actually act like kids, I mean, it’s like a sibling rivalry but between cousins and trust me, some siblings are actually like this. I know I was (and still am) with my brother. All the little bits if myth and description of things like sarcophagi and the actual mummys. It’s creepy and dark and just fun to read!

Awarded: 4 Stars


I hope you’re all up for joining me on my Goosebumps journey because my collection of Goosebumps books has now doubled so of course, more reviews will be up in the future.

Until next time guys, happy reading!

Rachel x

Top 5: Bookish Shops

All the shops below are ones I have bought from and that have great products, customer service and delivery even if the shop is abroad. All sections also have a link straight to the shops so you should definitely go check out these brilliant shops!


1. Paper Flames Candle Co20171101_140122

UK Based

A few months ago my friend from Bookstagram went on an attack of gentle persuasion to convince me I needed Bookish Candles in my life. Eventually she managed to convince and the first shop I bought bookish candles from was Paper Flames Candle Co. I’d been following Jordan’s Instagram account for the shop since she announced on Bookstagram that she would be making candles and I’m so glad about it. I currently have 5 candles from her shop (Le Cirque des Reves, Daylighter, Book Dragon, Parabatai and We Are The Thirteen) which all smell amazing and I also received her October box too! One of the best things about her candles though is that every candle has a beautiful and unique label design which all look so pretty. If you love bookish candles I urge you to go and check out Jordan’s shop!

Instagram: @paperflamescandleco

Paper Flames Candle Co


2. Melvis Makes20171101_140516

UK Based

Do you like Book Buddies? I honestly think that Book Buddies are essentials to a modern day Bookworm. I currently have 5 of Melanie’s Book Buddies but there are still many more that I want. I have 3 small Book Buddies (Foxes, Zombies and Cats & Crescents), one medium Book Buddy (Dragonflies with gold detailing) and a large Book Buddy (Skull and Crossbones). All of them are amazing and fit my book snugly while protecting them from severe damage. Melanie’s designs are all so beautiful and she has designs for any kind of bookworm. They’re well made and beautiful, you can tell she puts time and care into making each one and it’s usually very fast delivery. If you haven’t got a book buddy yet then go check out her shop! Psst, she also does Fiver Fridays nearly every week if you want a book buddy for a bargain!

Instagram: @melvismkes

Melvis Makes


3. Naomi Lord20171101_140238

UK Based

Naomi is one of them shops I follow on Instagram and see all her updates and new products and wish I had the money to buy them. Okay her products aren’t dear at all but I usually need a good reason to buy things but then the opportunity came. I got a new laptop that I wanted to make my own by decorating it with stickers so of course, one of the first shops I thought of was Naomi’s. I decided to buy 4 stickers from her shop (Newt with Niffler and Bowtruckle, “I solemnly swear” quote, Gaston and a Wolf) to put on my laptop or wherever I please. Admittedly the stickers were bigger than I thought they would be (should have checked dimensions, I know) but that didn’t take away from how beautiful and well drawn they are. Honestly I’m jealous of Naomi’s skill, her designs are utterly amazing and I very much intend to buy some prints in the near future.

Instagram: @naomi_lord

Naomi Lord Art


4. Strange The Bookmarks20171117_084717

Greece Based

Strange The Bookmarks is a fairly new shop but it’s already going strong. While the bookmarks (some of mine include a Sherlock Quote, “If in doubt go to the library” and ADSOM Blood Magic Commands) are larger than I thought they would be the designs are beautiful, as well as book based bookmarks she also has seasonal ones such as Halloween, Winter and Christmas bookmarks which all look great. Apparently they are also planning to introduce smaller bookmarks for those who don’t like the current size which I think is very good because it shows the owner thinks about her customers. Really beautiful bookmarks that are good quality and many brilliant designs.

Instagram: @strangethebookmarkshop

Strange The Bookmark


5. Little Inklings Design20171101_135946

Canada Based

Little Inklings was the very first bookish shop I bought from way back in May. I was so glad I did because I got some amazingly beautiful bookmarks from it (some include, “Throw Me To The Wolves”, “Rattle The Stars”, “You Are All The Colors”, “Just One More Chapter” and “Don’t Let The Hard Days Win”). When I bought the bookmarks I got the 10 bookmark set deal (hence not writing them all down) and they are genuinely all beautiful. They’re brightly coloured with beautiful lettering and amazing quality. I’m so glad I bought them and one day I may venture back for more!

Instagram: @littleinkingsdesign

Little Inklings Design


I hope you liked this Top 5 of my favourite Bookish Shops. I still have so many shops to get products from and so many products to get things like prints and totes and mugs and one day maybe I’ll have a bit of everything and I’ll have to make another Bookish Shop list but for now, these are most definitely my favourite bookish shops and I hope you all go and check them out for yourselves!

Until next time guys, happy reading!

Rachel x

Review: Filth

Filth by Irvine Welsh20170915_100224

Synopsis

With the Christmas season upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson of Edinburgh’s finest is gearing up socially—kicking things off with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam.

There are some sizable flies in the ointment, though: a missing wife and child, a nagging cocaine habit, some painful below-the-belt eczema, and a string of demanding extramarital affairs. The last thing Robertson needs is a messy, racially fraught murder, even if it means overtime—and the opportunity to clinch the promotion he craves. Then there’s that nutritionally demanding (and psychologically acute) intestinal parasite in his gut. Yes, things are going badly for this utterly corrupt tribune of the law, but in an Irvine Welsh novel nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get a whole lot worse…

My Thoughts

My thoughts are that it shouldn’t have taken me almost 2 months to read a book of less than 400 pages but alas it did. I digress, the book is actually really good as long as you like very hard hitting and gritty books that have outstanding amounts of racism, homophobia, sexism and just plain sex (not so plain, believe me DS Robertson is not vanilla in the least) all in the best possible taste of course. This book is very hard to read and not because of the subject matters or how offensive this book could come across has but more because it’s written in a very strong Scottish accent which genuinely makes it hard to understand even if you try to read it is a Scottish accent. I suppose if you are Scottish it may be easier to read but I am merely English and my own dialect is hard enough for others to understand so trying to get round all that Scottish was difficult but I carried on and pulled on through!

Over all the book it actually really good as long as you don’t take offence easily. The thing about the issues you could take offence to in this book is that there are always character’s trying to fight against the problems like homophobia, racism and sexism so it balances it out by some degree showing that Irvine Welsh isn’t just a complete arsehole with terrible views. The story also has some decent plot twists and very strange layout, okay the plot twists are easy to guess but I didn’t figure them out until the last 70 or so pages and the strange layout, well I’ll just let you figure that one out for yourself but it is bizarre and intriguing before and after you figure out the weird layout in some of the book.

I really liked this book even though it did take me so long to read it but, the story while confused sometimes really worked because it kind of shows how chaotic the life of Bruce is but if you are easily offended then I would really suggest giving this book a miss because there is a tremendous amount of racial and homophobic slurs along with a tirade of swearing and sexism. Good book, very gritty and so hard hitting it could take the breath from your lungs in one blow.

Awarded: 3.5 Stars


It took me far too long to read this book but read it I did along with a few others so at least it didn’t put me in a slump which I am very grateful for!

Until next time guys, happy reading!

Rachel x

Review: Stay Out Of The Basement

Stay Out Of The Basement by R L StineIMG_20171029_101514_407

Synopsis

Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, really. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they “meet” some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plant-like tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy-and seedy.

My Thoughts

Okay so this book is meant to be aimed at kids or preteens given the age of the characters themselves but yes, I, a 21 year old have only just started to read Goosebumps books and this is the one I’ve started with. Given Goosebumps books are aimed at kids I’ll try not to be too critical about it given kids rarely want complex plots or over excessive character development unless they’re a proper little bookworm so here’s what I thought of Stay Out Of The Basement.

It’s great, seriously, although the main character of Casey is a little annoying at times I didn’t expect these books to be so dark. It has great build up and tension to the big reveal and okay the plot twist is kind of obvious but I think that actually works in it’s favour because then you just want to find out how they’re going to reveal it. The kids are believable, I mean, what kid listens to their parents when they get told not to do something? Also, their dad is acting increasingly weird so obviously they’d go investigating what’s making him act so out of character. Honestly I wasn’t sure I’d like Goosebumps books with them being aimed at kids but I loved this one and I’m sure I’ll love any others I read in the future. I can’t wait to get stuck into these books properly!

Awarded: 4 Stars


So for the first time reading a Goosebumps book I had a brilliant experience, I also managed to read another Goosebumps book so a review for that will be along at some point too.

Until next time guys, happy reading!

Rachel x

October Book Haul and Wrap Up

Book HaulIMG_20171030_102134_937

This month I didn’t really buy that many books or at least I don’t think I did given I’ve been known to buy 30+ books in a month before. Anyway, I bought 14 books, 10 were in a box set of Goosebumps books and 4 were the first books in 4 different fantasy trilogies/duologies. I also bought a lot of Bookish Candles this month but I suspect that they won’t start arriving until tomorrow and over the next week. Although, my Candle box from Paper Flames Candle Co did arrive and it was amazing. I’m so happy I decided to order it because everything inside was brilliant. In the picture you can see one of the exclusive candles from the box along side a book from the same universe it’s inspired by and which I can’t wait to read.

So, what did I buy?

  • Box Set of 10 Goosebumps books (9 from the original series and 1 from the Goosebumps 2000 series) – R L Stine
  • A Darker Shade Of Magic – V E Schwab
  • This Savage Song – V E Schwab
  • Red Rising – Pierce Brown
  • Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

I’m really looking forward to reading these books over the coming months but first I really want to get in the Throne Of Glass series by Sarah J Maas so that will be my first read of November.


Wrap UpIMG_20171031_112742_142

I’m kind of proud of myself for the reading I did this month, not really for the amount of books I’ve read in October but more because I finally managed to finish Filth by Irvine Welsh. I started reading it last month but it was so difficult for me to read continuously that I started reading other books along side it which meant it took me almost 2 months to finish it which to say it’s only 393 pages long is a long time to spend on a book but I’m glad I continued on with it nonetheless.

And what did I read?

  • The Fourth Monkey by J D Barker – 4 Stars
  • Stay Out Of The Basement by R L Stine – 4 Stars
  • The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb by R L Stine – 4 Stars
  • Filth by Irvine Welsh – 3 Stars

This month I also started on a book called Rattle by Fiona Cummins which was a Thriller about a man who collects Skeletons whether it’s owner is dead or not. Anyway, given the book was so slow and took so long on the build up to what you’d already been told was going to happen (not explicitly but it’s easily figured out) I decided to DNF the book. I may pick it up again one day when I’m more in the mood for predictable thrillers but at the moment I really want to read some Fantasy books so that’s what I intend to do in November.


I’m proud of myself for finally finishing Filth but also getting some other books read in the process because it means I can still stay on track with my Goodreads reading challenge.

Until next time guys, happy reading!

Rachel x