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Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V E Schwab 

Book 2 in The Shades of Magic Trilogy

Published in 2016

512 pages 

5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads Sypnosis:

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.

My Review:

I definitley went into this book with a lot of anticipation; I fell in love with Schwab’s writing and she had fast become a favourite author of mine; in book 1, I was gobsmacked by the immense vastness that was in A Darker Shade of Magic: and I was hooked. 

A feeling that was definitley prelevant throughout my read of A Gathering of Shadows. 

I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and my heart! I loved every moment; the tension and pacing was so intense; it was brilliant, like, I was consistently making these crazy theories as I was reading as to what would come; and when these theories become true; I was stunned; and shocked; and loving every moment!!! It was crazy, so nail biting! 

These books actually have everything in them; my heart is so attatched to these characters and this book world: I want more more more! And it’s flawless; a constant vastness of neverending magic! I love how simple, yet so imaginative, Schwab’s writing is! I felt like I could once again clearly see everything that was being written! Such a visual series; these books have made me feel everything; and throughout my read of this, I was squealing from joy and crying from both happiness and sadness; these characters, especially now with the addition of Alucard: are among my favourites! Lila Bard had me cheering for her once again throughout, I was so shocked but when I think about it, I wasn’t, as she’s the literal definition of badass, which I love so much; at her actions, and her scenes with Kell were killing me! I love both these characters and cannot wait for more scenes! Especially after that ending! OH MY GOSH! I have so many questions that need answering! IT WAS MADNESS! And when a character came back from book 1, I was so nervous! I had even more questions; and some scenes terrified me! I freaking loved it all! And I can’t wait to learn more about this character yet and the repercussions of that SHOCKING finale! 

For everything that happened in this book, and what’s to come in what I’m sure is will be a heartbreakingly shattering perfect finale. I won’t read it yet…but soon…and I can’t wait! Shades of Magic is one of my favourite series. Every moment has left me floored in such an awe inspired way! The dialogue and interactions between characters made me laugh, cry, feel and more! These first two installments will long stay with me; and I’m thinking about it yet, even as I conclude my review.

Read these books and be awed! You won’t regret it! 

Until next time, Happy reading 📚

Brooklyn 💖

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Book Review: Prince Caspian by CS Lewis

Book 2 in The Chronicles of Narnia 

First published in 1951

190 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

The Pevensie siblings are back to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.
My Review:

I was definitley excited to re read this book, when I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I found that I had a whole new appreciation for these books as an adult. I felt a total sense of wonder, and nostalgia! I loved seeing Susan, Lucy, Edmund and Peter interact! Their sibling bond is one of my favourite things about this series! I loved their friendly banter, and their love for one another had only grown deeper since those magical, albiet somewhat scary events of book One! They have all come so far! Especially Edmund, in the first book he was such a whiny kid, not paying any heed to Lucy, but now he definitley stuck with her! And that made me so happy; he learned from his mistakes! 

I love how this story was told from two points of views; and storytelling; at the start we have Susan, Peter, Edmumd and Lucy in the ‘present’, and then suddenly they find themselves in an unfamiliar land…or is it? *wink* 

And whilst this is happening, Prince Caspian learns that everything he believed was definitley more than just lore. I cannot tell you, oh, the chills I felt! It was such a magical read throughout, the writing is so dreamy and wonderful, I could picture all the animal characters and loved seeing everyone interact! This is such an enchanting series and it is rich in nature! The Narnia world is so vast: yet another I would never want to leave! 

A brilliant read, a perfect continuation to a wonderful series! I am so glad I decided to re read this series as an adult; and I’m excited to re read and read the others! 

See you next time! Happy reading! 

Brooklyn 😀

Classic Book Tag

Tag time! I do love doing bookish tags, I’m just lazy to do them 😂 anyone else? 🤔 but I do want to start catching up! So here goes… 

#ClassicBookTag

📚 Pride and Prejudice (a favourite romance) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 💖

📚 The Great Gatsby (an exciting read) A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab 💖

📚 Wuthering Heights (a book you love) Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 💖

📚 Jane Eyre (a book that made you cry) Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami 💖

📚 Sherlock Holmes (a book that kept you guessing) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
📚 Little Women (a book with strong female characters) Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas 💖

📚 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (a book with travels) A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab 💖

📚 A Tale of Two Cities (a book with lots of fighting) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis 💖

📚 The Secret Garden (a peaceful read) Little Women by Louisa M Alcott 💖

📚 Great Expectations (a surprising read) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 💖

I officially tag you all! And comment down below when you’ve done it so I can check out your post 😁

Happy reading! 📚📚

Book Review: PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Book 2 in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy 

Published in 2015 by Simon and Schuster

5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads Sypnosis:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

My Review:

I had longtime been looking forward to reading this book, and after I read book 2 once more, I knew I was ready to dive in! 

This book takes place after the rather heart wrenching events that happened at the end of book 1, so the feelings were definitely there! I felt like I was right where we left off, and things had changed! Lara Jean had grown a lot during the first book, and even more so in book two! This book had it all! I loved the  dynamic between Lara Jean and her cousins’, and I loved seeing the three sisters back together! Although Margot of course has to return to University, it was great to read about her and see her with her sister’s again! Although there was definitley a lot of sassy Kitty scenes, which I couldn’t get enough of! And I loved the new addition of Stormy, a wise elderly lady that Lara Jean befriends whilst working at the Residential Home. She is such a crack up, and imparted a lot of wisdom to Lara Jean! 

What surprised me in this book was how much a certain character changed; I felt like his dynamic was slightly off from the start, and was so irritated at how he was so understanding towards a certain character; it made my blood boil! But at the same time, I was constantly questioning why this was; because it was odd! And angsty! So this book definitely an all round feel-fest from the start!! But I couldn’t get enough! And there were definitley some unexpected occurrences; like when Lara Jean suggests they dig up their time capsule from when they were at high school; how that all played about and the rest of the book from then on surprised me in the best way!! I especially loved reading more about Stormy, as I said, and old faces from book 1 turning up! The writing truly was every bit as addictive and emotional as book 1, even more so! I didn’t want it to end! I am so excited to read book 3, but this is truly one of my favourite Contemporary series, if not my favourite! I will definitley be savouring the amticipation until I read book 3! 

I’ll leave it there; but everyone must read this series! There’s something in it for all!

And that concludes my Review, until next time, happy reading:

Brooklyn 😊

Book Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Book 1 in the Daevabad Trilogy

Published in 2018 by HarperCollins Australia 

526 pages

2 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 


But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . . 

My Review:

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my thoughts on the book itself. 

Now, over at Bookstagram, I had seen this book floating around, and I must say it is something that intrigued me, so when I was offered a chance to review this piece, I was excited. 

However, my experience reading this one was not as nearky enjoyable as I hoped; whilst the writing was at times, gloriously vivid, there were times when I felt like the characters and their interactions got bogged down in the description of what was going on, rather than show what was happening. I also felt like there was too much world and word building; I honestly felt like the author was trying to do too much as once; and I confess I definitely got overwhelmed trying to keep up with the plot, the characters, the settings and the story. 

Although there were fleeting moments when I did enjoy the characters interactions, these were minimal, purely because I felt like amist the plot, the characters didn’t have room to grow, both on me and as themselves. I found their conversation to be repetitive and their interactions to be borderline immature at times, not to mention unrealistic. I mean, when Dara and Nahari met, you could tell what was coming, and honestly some of their dialogue made me cringe! And when plot twists came about, they were so random and sudden; they made no sense! Therefore I couldn’t allow myself to get caught up in the magic that was this book, purely because I felt like it was lacking…

I’ll leave it there, thank you to Eliza Auld over at Harper Collins Australia for organising a review copy. 

Happy reading,

Brooklyn. 

Book Review (Spoilers): To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster

355 pages 

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Review: 

This was a re read, I read this book last year and loved every minute of it, and when I started my re read, I remembered why! Lara Jean Song is one of my favourite fictional characters, not only because I relate to her a lot, but because she develops so much as the story goes along! Her and Margot and Kitty, and their father, are one of my favourite fictional families! I love their interactions, from their banter to just their undying love for one another! This book makes me feel like I’m part of their family, honestly! I could picture all their facial expressions and I was reading their lines in the specific tones that I felt like they were talking in! I love their undying love for their mother and her memory; the flashbacks to what happened that day were even more feely than I remember! From the first page, I was feeling all the emotions! This book makes me so fuzzy inside and that’s just one reason of many that it’s one of my favourites! 

There’s not even one character I don’t like! Even whilst I wanted to be angry at Genevive, I couldn’t be, because of a confession she makes near the end of the book! And at times Peter was a bit douchy, but I really like him! Whilst cocky, he’s cute and vulnerable too, and he really cares deep down! I really like Josh too, but it’s always been Peter and Lara Jean for me. From the start, their interactions made me laugh and feely. The angst, too! I need more of them in books 2 and 3! 

Margot is a character I really admire, she puts on this armor to not show her vulnerability and emotions at being the eldest sister, but deep down I, as well as Lara Jean and Kitty, know how much she cares for her family! The sibling bond between the three Song girls is one of my favourite things to read about; I can’t get enough of them, and love seeing them all interact together! Usually I would break up a book series that I’m loving but I want to start book 2 later! I want all the Lara Jean info! I need to know what happens with her and Peter! My heart!!

Lara Jean is definitley a character I relate to, rather than go out, for most part, she’ll sit at home and chill with her family, or spend time on her scrapbook. More so, I loved how she initially thought she’d spend the ski trip that the class was going on, curled up by the fireplace, reading and drinking hot chocolate. Ahh, heaven. Of course, it’s up to you, fellow book dragons, to decide to read this wonderful book; but I know I couldn’t recommend it enough. 

I shall leave you with a yummy quote regarding Lara Jean’s favourite food, yet another reason why I adore her: 

“My favourite food is cake.”
“What kind of cake?’
“It doesn’t matter. All cake.”
“You just gave me so much shit for not picking,” he begins
“But it’s so hard to pick one kind!” I burst out, “I mean, there’s coconut cake, the kind with white frosting that looks like a snowball – I like that a lot. But then I also like cheesecake and lemon cake, and carrot cake. Also red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting.”

– Lara Jean Song, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”.
Until next time, Happy Reading 📚

Brooklyn 😚

Book Review: By Familiar Means by Delia James


Published in 2016

328 pages

4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

In the latest from the author of A Familiar Tail, a witch and her familiar find trouble brewing at a coffee house.
 
After discovering her mystical heritage—and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth, and her old coven, for the first time in thirty years.
 
But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint the murals for a new coffee house, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Anna and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.
 
Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. But when her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body—Annabelle, Alastair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer.

Let’s talk about the plot: 

The plot was exciting, truthfully I had no idea of the twists that were to come! I love the combination of witchcraft and murder mysteries, so this series has been a lot of fun so far! We essentially have a witch trying to get rid of a spirit out of a coffee house before it’s grand opening, along with her familiar, the disappearing cat, Alistair, who helps her every step of the way: and Annabelle’s grandmother, who has come to visit Portsmouth. 

However, I do find this book to be more character orientated than plot, personally, so without further ado:

Let’s talk about the characters:

Annabelle had definitely grown since the first book; and in this one here we see her settle into her powers even more, although not without difficulty; but she’s surrounded by a great supportive network of coven sisters and friends, and a feline familiar that will always be there to get her out of trouble; and a loyal grandmother who has returned, caring and loving as ever. I really loved the scenes between Annabelle and her Grandmother, you can tell how much they loved one another and I love how Alistair interacted with both of them!  

Alistair had most of my favourite scenes, Delia James really knows how to write cats, there were times I was just laughing out loud: it was great, I could picture the cheeky kitty’s interactions throughout; and I love how he popped up when he knew he would be needed. 

It was great reading about Valerie and Kenisha again, they were both characters I enjoyed in book 1 so it was great that they featured again so prominently in this book, and Julie too. I remember being weary of her in the first book, but then loving her, so I’m hoping all these characters are in book 3!

Let’s talk about the writing:

The writing was addictive, I definitley couldn’t put it down, I actually spent most of the day reading it, with little breaks in between. I was loving every moment: the author manages to keep things interesting and suspenseful, and definitley mysterious; albeit the mystery, I found, lulled in the middle, I was kept entertained by Alistair’s antics and wondering how the devil would this story wind up? But I loved the ending, and I’m definitley looking forward to reading book 3! 

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading 🙂

Brooklyn. 

Book Review: A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

Published in 2017 by MacMillian Children’s Books

415 pages 

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .

Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide. 
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding. 

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard. 

And now there’s a spirit inside her. 

The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father’s rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret. 

But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.”

Let’s talk about the plot:

I recieved a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review; this does not effect by thoughts on the book. 

However, I must admit when I started this book, I knew I hadn’t read anything like this before. I was capivated from the start and I wanted more! 

The plot in itself was utterly remarkable! It had me constantly guessing; I never would’ve anticipated some of the twists and turns that came about: and there was nothing overwhelming in this book! It felt like I could see everything from Makepeace’s point of view: even though it was narrated in third person, so it also felt like I was right there, seeing everything as she did. 

So without being too spoilery, the whole concept of this book follows that when people or even animals die, their spirits can venture into other people. This is one of the many things that made the book memorable, and it’s not just the plot; but what followed remains one of the most brilliant and haunting stories I have ever come across! And I love how this was written, like, I definitley want to read the author’s other books! I could also read endless books on Makepeace, what a freaking brilliant character! 

So without further ado,

Let’s talk about the characters:

Honestly, for me, this was all about Makepeace, and well a few others, but Makepeace mainly. From the start, she was instantly a fierce young girl, she read older than 12 but given the circumstances, it makes sense! I had tonnes of questions about her, and so did she! Yes, at times it was a journey of self discovery, and as a reader, we learnt a lot about not only Makepeace, but about the origins of a certain family and how the spirit invading works. Through this, we definitley meet a colourful selection of characters and in very different circumstances too! Some definitley more tragic than others….other memorable characters include Bear, a certain Doctor and James. These characters, but Makepeace especially, felt like my feels were going in a blender and it didn’t get turned off even after I closed the book. It was THAT memorable! 

Let’s talk about the writing:

The writing was flawless! It was magical, visual, lovely, and addictive! There was never a dull moment and the plot twists had me reeling! When I thought something was about to happen, something would turn the story on its head! I was truly gasping at some character’s actions and at generally what occurred throughout the story! I really feel like this book and Makepeace will be on my mind long after finishing, even as I type, I’m still thinking about the story! Endless fascination and all round marvel! Perfection! I recommend to all! 

I’ll leave it there; thank you again to Hannah over at Pan Macmillian Australia for the review copy! 

Have a great weekend! 

Brooklyn. 

Book Review: Quotes for Nasty Women – edited by Linda Picone


Published by Sterling in 2017
358 pages
4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Sypnosis:
Nasty women, unite—and read this compendium of fascinating quotations about powerful women through history. 
 
“My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today. I knew it then as purpose.” —Bette Davis
 
When Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton as “such a nasty woman” during the last presidential debate in 2016, women everywhere felt a jolt of recognition—whatever their politics or feelings about Clinton. In response, they promptly turned his insult into an empowering slogan. This book celebrates the now-ironic phrase with a collection of quotations by and about strong women, both critical and positive. The words come from figures in ancient history like Cleopatra; founding mothers like Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; feminist icons such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan; politicians and government leaders; groundbreakers in arts and culture; celebrities; and the mothers, daughters, and sisters at home. 


My Review:

I received a copy of this book from Harriet McInerney at NewSouth Books in exchange for an honest review, this does not impact my thoughts on the book!
however, I really loved this! There were quotes from some of my favourite women, including: Audrey Hepburn, Agatha Christie, JK Rowling and more: so many of these quotes inspired me, uplifted me, and all round moved me! Even though the title directs the book towards women, I think there’s something in it for everyone; and often, the quotes could apply to all!
 

The speakers of these quotes were various noted, remarkable women from history – so it’s fitting that this is my first completed read for #ReadForWomen (which runs over February and March) – what I also loved about this book is that it reminded me that there are so many fascinating women I can’t wait to learn more about! Another thing that I liked about this book is how it constantly encouraged women standing together: a notion that I’m all for! 

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading 🙂 
Brooklyn. 

Book Review: Wonder by R.J Palacio

Published in 2012

310 pages 

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? 

Let’s talk about the plot:

This was such an exquisite read! It was so heartwarming and I was moved from page one and I knew this would be a memorable read! The story follows August, as he ventures into 5th grade school after being home schooled for all this time: we learn about his condition, which makes others perceive him differently, and through not only August, but those around him, we learn about how other people perceive he who looks different. 

Let’s talk about the characters:

August is so precious! My heart was with him all the way, I thought, how can someone have so much sadness thrown in his face but still be so loving and fun? I wanted to hug him so much! The book took us right into his emotions, I felt everything that he felt and honestly I was so proud of how much he grew throughout the book! I loved his interactions with every character, especially Daisy! And I loved his perception of everything and how wise he is. 

August’s parents were so lovely! They honestly loved their son and daughter so much, I love how much love their is in the family, and how they weren’t afraid to admit it. August’s parents and sister supported him constantly, and only had positive things to say to him! And the whole family’s interactions with Daisy, the aging family dog, melted my heart constantly and at times had me so teary! 

August’s friends at school were all really interesting! I loved reading about their backstories and seeing them interact! I was glad to see characters like Miranda grow too, although I shall refrain from saying why, because I truly think this book needs to be read by everyone! No matter what the age, everyone will get something out of this book! August makes me want to be better! This book impacted me THAT much! 

Via, or Olivia, is August’s elder sister, I loved her chapters so much!! I had a lot of questions whilst reading her parts, and so it was great to learn all about her, and I loved her bond with August; though I felt sad at times when Via was admitting some things, and I was all “but why?!” – but alas, Via is another who had great character growth.

Let’s talk about the writing:

I couldn’t get enough of the writing, the characters had me emotionally invested and the writing was amazing in itself. The story was broken up into short chapters, which were contained within a specific characters’ narration. One of the many reasons I loved this was because it allowed for lots of character perception, interaction and of course development! I can wait to read the ‘Wonder’ short stories; and I would happily read infinite stories on Auggie!