Waiting on Wednesday: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

A Gathering of Shadows FinalPublisher: Tor

Author: V.E. Schwab

Release date: February 23, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like 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.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Why I’m excited: MORE KELL. MORE LILA. MORE LONDONS. MORE MAGIC. MORE RHY. I fell in love with V.E. Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC more than a year ago and I cannot wait to get more of this world and its fantastic characters. Plus, we finally get to meet Black London, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. I am so exciting for A GATHERING OF SHADOWS. I even pre-ordered it, and there’s only a few books I pre-order. So soon, you guys! SO. SOON.

Get ready! The #ADSOMreadalong is almost here!

#ADSOMreadalong (2)

So if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me tweet about this a few times, but I wanted to share it here just in case some of you haven’t seen it.

Victoria Schwab reached out to readers about putting together a readalong (or in my case, rereadalong) for ADSOM. If you haven’t read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC or want to reread it before A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, this is your chance! It starts tomorrow, February 1, and we’ll be chatting about certain parts of the book every Monday at 9 p.m. EST on Twitter using the hashtag #ADSOMreadalong! The best part is that we’ll be finishing ADSOM before A GATHERING OF SHADOWS releases on February 23!

And if you’re on Goodreads, you can join the Goodreads group for the readalong HERE.

Plus, for your convenience, here’s the readalong schedule so you can add it to your planners/calendars/phone reminders.

  • Monday, February 1st, 9pm: Intro Chat! Come tell us who you are! We’ll discuss what the plan is and talk all things ADSOM!
  • Monday, February 8th, 9pm: We’ll Discuss Parts 1-5
  • Monday, February 15th, 9pm: We’ll Discuss Parts 6-10
  • Monday, February 22nd, 9pm: Discuss final chapters and talk about our theories for A Gathering of Shadows!

Don’t forget that the hashtag we’re using is #ADSOMreadalong, so check that for updates and reminders for the chat!

Are any of you planning to join in?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes from the Past Year

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

“When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.” Mosquitoland by David Arnold

“I will be STRONGER than my sadness” My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

“Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.” Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

“No, Lila had been running toward something. Something better. And even if she hadn’t reached it yet. She would.”

AND

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.” A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“Because there’s no denying it now. I’m in the world
And, too, the world is in me.” Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing something that brings you joy.” A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“I fall a little bit in love with everyone.” Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.”  I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

“So now live for real, Craig. Live. Live. Live. Live.
Live.” It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

What are some of your favorite book quotes?

The Disney Book Tag

This tag was created by Katytastic over on YouTube to celebrate the release of The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz. I was tagged by Aria at Book Monster and Maren at The Worn Bookmark! Thanks so much for the tags, Aria and Maren!

Disney

  1. The Little Mermaid – a character who is out of their element, a “fish out of water”

Rachel from Jennifer Mathieu’s latest novel, Devoted, leaves the home and family she’s known her whole life to start fresh in the “real” world. She doesn’t really understand how the real world works and must navigate first jobs, first roommates, and figuring out what she truly believes.

  1. Cinderella – a character who goes through a major transformation

Kristin from I.W. Gregorio’s debut None of the Above finds out that she is actually intersex. Her life, identity, and world are completely turned upside down and she must figure out who she really is while everyone else does too.

  1. Snow White – a book with an eclectic cast of characters

I’m going to go with a children’s book for this one: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers is filled to the brim with eclectic characters…er, crayons. Overworked Blue and Mediator Green and WHO IS THE TRUE COLOR OF THE SUN? Yellow or Orange?! Love it.

  1. Sleeping Beauty – a book that put you to sleep

Hands down: If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Ugh.

  1. The Lion King – a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

Harry Potter. Duh. He had like a million traumatic things happen to him while he was a child. Actually, all of those kids who went to Hogwarts during those years had pretty traumatic things happen to them.

  1. Beauty and the Beast – A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber is 500 pages long and absolutely intimidating. I’m so glad I read it though. Not only is it physical beautiful (the pages are gilded – they are gold-edged) but the story is incredibly fascinating and strange and…definitely beautiful.

  1. Aladdin – a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse

I’m going to have to go with Maren on this one: Simon from Becky Albertalli’s debut Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda wishes with everything he has to meet Blue, the boy he’s been emailing back and forth for months, and is it for better or worse? You’ll just have to read it and find out. 🙂

  1. Mulan – a character who pretends to be someone or something they are not

Lila Bard in V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic dresses up like a man in order to be accepted socially, or at least so she doesn’t draw attention to herself. I chose her because even though she’s pretending to be someone she isn’t, she’s an incredibly badass character.

  1. Toy Story – a book with characters you wish would come to life

Hands down, I would want the characters from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle books to come to life. I just want to be best friends with all of them: Blue, RONAN, Gansey, Noah, Adam, and definitely Chainsaw. I want to hang out at 300 Fox Way and fly around in helicopters looking for Glendower.

  1. Disney Descendants – your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character

I’m a big fan of morally ambiguous characters in books. They are often more complex, more interesting, and more terrifying than the protagonists. My favorite is probably Kevin from We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver. He may not be so morally ambiguous. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that he is absolutely evil, but why is he that way? Nature? Nurture? It’s just absolutely fascinating to read about him. Plus, Ezra Miller does a pretty amazing job at portraying him on screen.

I’m tagging: 

Rachel at Confessions of a Book Geek

Alison at Hardcovers and Heroines

Shaina at Shaina Reads

Kay at It’s a Book Life

Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts

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

A Darker Shade of Magic was my first V.E. (Victoria) Schwab book, but you can bet that I’ll be reading all of her others as soon as humanly possible.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabAuthor:  V.E. Schwab
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, science fiction
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
400 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Tor Books for letting me read and review this! (I’m pretty sure I was only supposed to get the 30% preview, but THANK GOODNESS I GOT IT ALLLL)

I’ve been sitting on this review for a couple of days now attempting to figure out how to express my love for A Darker Shade of Magic. I haven’t read a fantasy/sci-fi/magic book that I loved this much in a long time. It’s got all things I ever wanted in a book without ever really knowing I wanted those things. “Cross-dressing thieves”? Got it. Wannabe pirates? Yep, there’s that too. More than one London? Of course! And all kinds of magic including unique and wonderful types? YES.

A Darker Shade of Magic is full of unparalleled world-building and fantastical characters, places, and ideas. I honestly can’t think of another book to compare it to, and that is awesome. It’s really dark and complex but with an unexpected bit of humor from its characters that kept it being too much. Like with Lila – I dare you to read this book and not think she’s incredible. She’s a thief and a wannabe pirate, and she’s such a badass. She’s tough but emotional, and she won’t give up until she sees the world. Lila also thinks things like, “Why anyone would ever pretend to be weak was beyond her (ARC Loc. 729)” – and if that doesn’t make you like her, I don’t know what will.

Then there’s Kell. Oh, Kell. He’s a…magician, able to control all of the elements and also able to cross between the worlds, which he does as an ambassador to Red London. He’s exactly the kind of hero I want in a fantasy, you guys. I love a hero who’s not perfect, who’s complex and layered. I love a hero who might be more dark than light, maybe even a little rebellious. That’s Kell. He’s ridiculously charming and incredibly loyal. Kell is “built like an afternoon shadow, tall and slim (ARC Loc. 530), and he’s also got a pretty amazing coat. Yeah, I’M DONE FOR.

Let me talk about the Londons (yep, plural) because it is so intriguing. We’ve got Kell’s Red London, which is so magical that it glows red. Then there’s Holland’s (not necessarily the bad to Kell’s good he comes across as) White London, ruled by twins who are chill-inducing in their scariness. We’ve got Lila’s Grey London, which is basically our world but it does have its own magic – look out for a pretty cool pub in all the Londons. Last, but not least, is Black London, and though we don’t see it, it’s my favorite because it gives us black magic, a character who’s not really a character. It may be (sort of) invisible, but it manipulates the characters and plot. It’s scary, interesting, and so so cool. One other character I loved was a prince described by Victoria Schwab as “A royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness” and that is the perfect description. He’s magnificent, of course.

The amount of times I had no idea what was going on or I was surprised by a twist or a new development was astounding. ADSOM kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t really prepared to love this book as much as I did, but now it’s got a piece of my soul and it isn’t letting go.

The bottom line: A Darker Shade of Magic is a gripping, thrilling, wonderful adventure. The world-building, writing, characters, Londons, and magic are all incredibly done. I can already tell this will be one of my favorite reads of 2015.

Rating: 9 – practically perfect

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To In 2015

Holy crap, this is hard. You can check out my 2015 releases shelf on Goodreads (which currently has a whopping 64 books on it!) to see that I am excited for A LOT of books coming out in 2015. Thankfully, in January we’ve got a TTT post about debuts coming out in 2015, so that helps a little. This list is obviously not going to include all the books I’m excited about but here’s the ten that I am dying to read.

My Heart & Other Black HolesSimon vs the Homo Sapiens AgendaThe Fill-In Boyfriend

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga…because it sounds deep and sad and lovely and perfect winter weather.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli…because I got an ARC of this at the Decatur Book Festival and I think it sounds really great.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West…because it sounds suitably sweet and adorable.

A Darker Shade final for IreneSaint Anything

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab…because parallel universes.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig…because I need it.

Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day…because I LOVED The Black Hour. 

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen…because NEW SARAH DESSEN!

The Prom Goer's Interstellar ExcursionPip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures

The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy…because oh my goodness it sounds perfect and unique and like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater…because – do I really need to explain this one?

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid…because he’s a really genuine person and I liked Let’s Get Lost and I’m excited to read what’s next from him.

Bonus:

Red QueenWherever You Go

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard…because it sounds epic

Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller…because I adored Sophie’s Squash 

What books are you looking forward to in 2015? Are you excited about any of the books on my list?