Review of A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab

I’ll be the first one to admit that the first book in this series didn’t feel very satisfying by the end of it. A Darker Shade of Magic seemed like the whole book had been set up much more to explain this new world –understandable since there are four variations of the same one, that are of course different, and that one of the characters (and the bad guy) can visit at will. An ability that is dying, seeing as only one person can now travel thru kingdoms.

But there was not much on the way of story, or at least not for me. It felt like the basis of a great series that had not yet been fulfilled, but just barely begging to touch how great it could be, and the many twist and turns the story could take.

A Gathering of Shadows was much better, hence the 4 out of 5 Star rating.

Four because I felt like it took forever to get on with it, and because Kell, true to character, most of the time– annoys me to no end.

This book is right after what they are now calling the black plague. Meaning the remnants of the backlash the first book left them to deal with. Kell is now more a prisoner than he had ever been. He’s been treated like a pet that is at the end of a leash, and has no escape. Only he does have an escape, but because of the fact that his life is now truly attached to that of his brothers, he can’t do much about this feelings, other than fantasize about it. Fantasize about leaving for good, about disappearing. Like Lila had done.

A Gathering of Shadows is told from several perspectives. Rhy’s, Kell, Lila, and even sometimes a new character that just happen to be Lila’s captain, he is a very interesting individual, to say the least.  One the is dangerous and refreshing in turns.

This second instalment of the series is much more entertaining and we all get to see much more of this new world, away from the capital and the palace while traveling with Lila and the charming captain and his crew. However, as fate will have it, the things that Lila and Kell thought to be hidden, are coming back to life to hunt him down in Red London. The one place where they all thought that no one would be able to follow him. The enemies that he thought long gone and defeated, where but biding their time to strike back at him, and use him to his own purposes. And the characters all converge, in one way or another at the Essen Tach. The magician tournament that is held in Red London this year, where magicians of all the three regions – of the Red World, come to this capital to demonstrate their strength and stealth, and of course, to show each other what the one next to you can do, in case a war could be on the horizon. Political tug a war at its best, only with magic.

I liked the characters much better in this one because they are coming out of their shell, and because you can see the evolution from the first book, and the backlash it caused, reflected in this one. Lila is as clever as ever, borderline reckless, and she knows it, but of course, this had never stoped her from doing what she wants. Kell is more dark and distant that ever, while at the same time haunted by everything his brother and him are doing and have done. The Essen Tach becomes his only way of blowing some steam and playing the bad boy, for once, because while entertaining his participation is highly illegal. How ever, compared to all the times the brothers have been suffering under this new “arrangement” the Essen Tach becomes the only way of letting go of some of the magic that has been strangling him for the past couple of months and; not only for him, but for Rhy, who now has to suffer along side Kell, for all one does, the other does as well, no matter if the counterpart wants to or not.

More complications, some answers and yet more questions, this book was finally the magical adventure that I was waiting for, and it delivered. I can’t wait for the next one to be out and in my hands.

A Conjuring of Light is the next and last book of The Shades of Magic Series by V.E Schwab, and it will be available February 21st, 2017; here is the link to the pre-order site in Amazon, in case you want to double check it.

https://www.amazon.com/Conjuring-Light-Shades-Magic/dp/0765387468/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1471086860&sr=8-4&keywords=A+Gathering+of+shadows

That’s all I have for y’all today. I hope you enjoyed the review, and please don’t forget to comment if you did, or if you have some other books you would like me to try. I’d love to hear your recommendations.

Stay tuned for the next week, I’ll be posting my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Have a great rest of the day, and keep reading.

Pre-Launch Review of Raelia by Lynette Noni. Book Two in the Medoran Chronicles

Two reviews in two days! I could not help myself, specially when this books launch is tomorrow. I wanted y’all to be warned in case you want to run to your local library tomorrow of get the Kindle edition. Stay tuned for more reviews!

I’ve literally just finished Alex’s last adventure and I am still a bit giddy about it all. The whole book is another great installment of a Series that I have now become a fan of, since I can’t wait for the third one to be released and the second is still a day away until the release date on the 23rd. So it’s going to be a tough time without them.

Here is what to expect of Realia.

Alex, Bear and Dix reunite in Realia after a summer apart with their families. Because of the events that tested them at the end of the year, they are now closer than ever. So their friendship remains intact. How ever this time we get to go into the lost -for thousands of years- city of Meya. In an effort to warn the Meyarin about Aven’s plans, and the lengths he is willing to go to, in order to get what he wants. How ever in turn, they help her just as much as she them, because Roka, the presumed dead prince –and Aven’s brother; helps her discover something else that could save her life if she had to use it in the future. A dormant, recently acquired ability, I guess you could say.

This books so far have not disappointed, they are full of adventure, action and in this one, there is even a bit of romance, if only starting to sprout, from more than one angle. It’s also great to see the characters get out of their comfort zone and fight against the odds, mostly when those are not in their favor.

Raelia has a lot more challenges than the previous one, if only because as we go, there are more encounters and the danger encompassing Akarnae, Alex, Dix, Bear and Jordan increase.

I especially like the library as a character as well, because it’s unpredictable and it also clues you in, when you are paying attention, of course. Also, the author writes the suspense for the final moments of the book very good. Building tension while also letting you pick up clues along the way that made me yell at Alex to stop and think for a second. Of course, she didn’t, but still, that means there is another book- hopefully in the near future; and I for one, can’t wait.

 

So yes, I do recommend the series, not just this book. Make sure you pick up Akarnae and Raelia if you enjoy Adventure, Fantasy and good humor. You’ll get a full plate of all, and then some more, it also does not hurt to know that there are at least five books in this series. The next one is called Draekora – I love all the names BTW. But I have no idea when is this one going to be launched.

 

You can get more info from the author if you follow her on social media –like I do. She’s also done some YouTube videos, so make sure to check that out.

 

As always, keep reading y’all. I’ll be back soon with another review.

 

 

 

Review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni. Book 1 in the Medoran Chronicles

Review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni.

 

Hello everyone and welcome back to another review. Today we’re going to be talking about the first installment of the Medoran Chronicles, Akarnae. As I am sure you know, the second book is scheduled to by out by the 23rd (expect a review of Raelia on the date of publication), so without further ado, here is a brief overview and then we’ll get right into it!

 

Alex is the only child of adventurous parents, as such, she’s grown up in dig sites and traveling around the world with them. How ever, one special assignment prevents her from going with them, and she is sent to a private school in the middle of nowhere. Not five minutes after her arrival, the students pull a prank on her that has her crashing down into fountain and consequently, drenched; something more to add to how bad she is feeling, having to be separated from her parents for eight month in a place that, from what she’s being able to ascertain so far, is not all that friendly. Focused on what she has to do, since now that her parents are gone she has no other choice, Alex goes to the headmaster’s office in order to enroll in the school and start her long eight month count down. But when she goes through the door that’s supposed to open to his office, she sees something that’s not possible. Another world!

From then on Alex is catapulted into Medora. A parallel world were science is very much like magic and people, while still speaking English (thankfully) are also different and somehow the same, all at the same time. Not to mention they have many more creatures and intelligent races that she’s never heard of.

 

To her surprise, Alex is found not by one, but three different individuals, one of them, the first to encounters her in the forest, is not so pleasant, so much so that even with his incredible good looks, she’s still able to see behind the façade and try to get away from him. And is then forced by circumstances to enroll at Akarnae, the academy for the gifted. Even though, as far as she knows, her sense of humor could not be counted toward that particular specialty.

 

I loved this book. I honestly didn’t thing I would like it as much as I did, but I am glad and surprised. I love that Alex is a girl, she is down to earth, witty, smart and kind, something that makes you love her from the get go. Her companions and partners in crime Bear and Jordan are also very lovable and interesting characters. They each have their own set of secrets and little by little they start to trust each other, becoming near inseparable. Her roommate however, D.C, is not so jovial and accommodating.

 

The whole book is an amazing adventure. Not only will you be introduced to a new world, it’s set of rules and basics, but also it feels like you are right there with Alex, getting your butt kicked by Finn, the extra enthusiastic PE teacher that knows no bounds when he wants to push his students to the max.

 

The story has it twists and turns, enough to keep you glued to the page the whole time, complete with a super villain, a lost race, a magical library with a mind of it’s own –this is amazing!- and some other bumps and bruises on the way to help Alex stay alive long enough to get back to Freya, or Earth, as its known to her.

 

I gave it a 4-5 starts just because, the whole world development does take a bit to get used to in the first part of the book. How ever, once it does, it’s not easy to put down and do what you need to do in your day-to-day life. All I wanted was to be done so I could go to my reading Corner and continue my adventure.

 

As always, consider this my recommendation to you. If you liked Narnia and Harry Potter, I’m sure this will soon become a series you’ll wait for in the future.

 

Keep reading and until next time!

If you want a teaser of this book, the Publisher has this link to the first couple of chapters. Akarnae

PS: Stay tuned for the Review of Raelia, Book two in the Medoran Chronicles. Only two days until publication day!

 

 

Review of the Martian by Andy Weir

Review of The Martian by Andy Weir.

Compelling, captivating and intense.

Clear your schedule ladies and gents, because this book will keep you glued to the page whether you want it or not.

 

I started it thinking I was going to put it back down in two chapters. I am not much for Martians, in general. The first book I have ever being able to read related to space and the like, is Cinder, and there is a BIG difference between that and this. But I’d checked it out of the library, forgot about it, and in the absence of anything else, plus trying not to re-read any of my other “for sure” books, I stepped out of my comfort zone.

 

And I am so happy I did!

 

The Martian was nothing like I was expecting. It pulled me into the story in the fist page, and by the tenth I was telling my best friend about it, and laughing at Mark with her.

To summarize: For those of you that have not heard of the book or the movie: Mark is an astronaut – Oh no!, Yes of course, he is, duh- he is part of an expedition of a total of six people –very smart people with more than two doctorates that work for NASA- and are in the middle of an expedition in Mars, the planet. Because of weather conditions, and complications that could compromise their lives, they have to make a decision that will have them abort their mission much to early; so Commander Lewis decides the storm is too strong, and they should evacuate immediately, because they run the risk of the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle, pretty much the space ship that gets them to and from orbit when they have to descend into Mars and when they have to ascend to go back home, ) their ticket back home, getting damaged in the storm. So out they go, into the storm, all six of them, holding onto each other for guides to go back into the ship, aborting the mission only six days in, because of this unanticipated complication. Here is where the problem comes in. Bad luck really. Part of the antennae that the use to be able to communicate back with Huston brakes in the storm, and it sunk into Mark’s side and his suit. With the suit giving no indication of live from the last reading (their suits record this in case there is any emergency), they all look for a while, but ultimately have to leave the planet, leaving Marks body behind, and taking the only ship that could get anyone out of Mars, along with everything that they were going to use while they were up there in their mission.

The bad part; He is not dead. Not even a little bit, and now he is in Mars, by himself, with nothing but his wits, knowledge in botany and engineering plus the will to live as long as possible for a rescue to be plausible.

And so it begins, the struggle between one man, alone, fighting one planet.

I got to tell you. The planet almost won, several times. But Mark Watney went on and on…

 

I particularly enjoy the way it’s told. Very much so like a diary in which you talk to yourself most of the time. Relaying what you did in the day, explaining it in a way that all the physics, and chemistry of it does not become a big question mark, -in his words, because he hopes, that if he dies, maybe someone else would read it, if he ever figures out a way to get out- and more importantly its not a big BLAH that you just read over, hoping to get out of the technical stuff.

You are with him the whole time. Trough happy times, and screw-ups. You would not thing there could be a lot of action in a book like this, were someone is living in a planet –that’s if I leaned correctly- died millions – probably longer- of years ago. You would be wrong how ever. He gets blown up. More than once actually. He needs to make water out of gasses that are tanked, and that is more than a little tricky, which lead to him bouncing of the panels of the Hab (high-end tent they use with the ability to hold and atmosphere so that the astronauts can live in there without having to wear the suits) because he was burning hydrogen to dispose of it, since it had concentrated to much in the water making process, to what he calls: Kill-Mark-Levels.

Then there are the modifications of equipment that was simply not designed to go past the date in which they would depart and then just flat out bad luck again.

 

The whole time, this book bounces back between him, and NASA. Trying to figure out how the hell is he alive and what can they do about it?

There is not part of this book that did not leave me wanting to read more, even when I got to the end.

 

I give it a 5 of 5 stars because it’s not only a book with a great story, unique point of view and a compelling narrative, but also one that I would buy and re-read any time. It ight just have earned a place in my “for sure” list of books that are always in my back pocket when I read something that just does not cut it.

 

I just wish I could know more after the ending. But of course, it’s called The Martian. Not What the Martian did once they can get his ass back.

 

I hope you guys enjoyed the review. I –clearly- enjoyed the book, and am pleasantly surprised by how much. Of course, if you were looking for a recommendation to start it. Here it is. Read it! It’s wonderful.

If you want to listen to a comparison between the Book and its movie adaptation, here is the link:

http://www.spreaker.com/user/ccalvarez90

or you can see the review on the BookTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcIprJqAdbUN-3hnCo6_viA

I’ll se y’all soon with more reviews, videos and audio reviews!

Until then, keep on reading!

Review of the Exile a Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon, Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

Hello y’all and welcome back to another review!

Happy New Year to all, and I hope that this year is a great one!

Without further ado, here is my review on the Exile, a Graphic Novel:

I found this comic book to be a great addition for any Outlander fan, as well as something that would get a lot of other people hooked on the story, probably not knowing the size of the books.

I am not a big fan of comic books, I’ve always preferred the more full on, complex and consequently large novels  rather than the ones with illustrations. How ever, this being a Diana Gabaldon book, it was guarantied to be longer than your usual graphic novel, and the story, while still keeping in with the original, has some new tales with in it that I wanted to know, so i was sold.

This one is told through Jamie and Murtagh’s point of view gives the readers who have read the original Outlander story a more rounded view of all the events that passed without Claire knowing about them. Its refreshing, enticing and very enjoyable, and i am pleased that it was not at all repetitive, at least not in a way that makes you feel like you are reading the same book, just in another format.

While i would have loved to have the whole book in this format, I know that if that where to happen that book would be virtually uxliftable, not to mention very difficult to read. To try and tell that very complicated story in a Graphic Novel format would mean to divide it into books like this that the reader can lift without the help of a lectern or similar object.

The artistry is amazing. Not your typical two faced/two expression drawings of the characters that we know and love. But a more full range of emotions that show both in the artistry as well as the prose that companies it.

All in all, I could not have picked a better book for my first adult comic book. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars, and would recommend it to y’all.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I am going to go re-read Outlander… again.

XOX

Review of Crimson Peak Novelization by Nancy Holder, Screenplay by Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to the blog!

Today I am super excited to talk about the novelization of what I hear is also a great movie.

Crimson Peak

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My friend and I love Mr. Hiddleston’s work. If you don’t know (maybe because you may live under a rock) he’s worker on War Horse and Avengers (Loki), anyways… She’s being to the movies three times to see it since its premiere and said its great. She is also particularly fond of a certain scene… if you’ve being to the movie or have a friend like mine you KNOW which one.

However, I have a two year old that won’t sit still trough Curious George, let alone a movie mommy wants to see. So I picked up the book.

I got tell you, I think it’s fantastic!

I found the book incredibly visual and compelling. Everything that happens has a certain flow to it, and it carries you with it. It lets you know just as much information as you need, no more or less and the perspectives change. Something I love because you don’t get only one linear view on certain scenes. For me it was like watching from another angle, all the other things are still happening, how ever with the extra insight, sort of like a 360 view.

I found it interesting that even the house’s perspective (a symbolism of evil and fear of change from my interpretation) it’s also present and counted as a character, for the house is a much a character as the people in the book.

The characters are different in many ways, yet somehow the same. Deep in their own problems, haunted by their daemons, fighting for what they think the want. Love, fortune, dreams… Everything collides, schemes are discovered creating more conflict and a hell of a Gothic Romance that had me turning pages, not stopping until I hit the back cover.

I am recommending the book without seeing the movie. Something that after finishing I have to remedy, so hopefully that DVD comes out soon. All in all I am happy I broke my rule of not buying before reading it, because I will sure re-read it again in a couple of months.

I hope you guys enjoyed this review. Don’t forget to like if you think it’s helpful and subscribe for more reviews. I should be uploading my November Wrap up and December TBR into the YouTube channel.

Here are more of the places where you can keep up with the Blog, get the news and follow me if you like !!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/168066-the-bookish-club

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Twitter: @ccalvarez90

Review of the Selection Series by Kiera Cass (The Selection, The Elite & The One)

Hello y’all!

I hope you’ve had a good weekend! Mine has being great and today I want to share a review of a series that I read recently.

The Selection Series, by Kiera Cass.

1- The Selection

2- The Elite

3- The One

4- The Heir

* There are also several novellas that accompany this series. Here is the link to the amazon page of the Author where you can find all of it.

Kiera Cass

Lets dive into it!

The best way for me to try and resume this series into a one sentence description its to use some comparison. To me it was a bit of “The Bachelor” (the one on tv in the US) but put into a dystopian setting in order to get a different reaction because of it. Now for those of you who don’t know what The Bachelor is, I will explain how it pertains to the books.

The stories of this books are following closely a girl Named America. She is a 5, which means that in society she is behind in the class category. She and her family are artists and there for earning a living is hard when you depend on being hired for parties and the like… Her mother is pushy and wants her to enter the Selection, for she thinks this is the best way for the daughter to get out of the classification their society has pushed on them. The category’s pertain directly to the jobs performed by the population, the lowest, #8, are the homeless.

The Selection (here is why I compare it with the bachelor, since its sort of the same thing, without this class classification…)  is the process in which the Prince (Maxon) will chose his wife out of 35 girls from the kingdom. All of different social classes… How ever, America has already given her heart out to Aspen, a boy she’s known all her life and that she adores. How ever he is a 6 and if they were to marry, she would also become a 6, something that has had them concealing their relationship since the beginning, both because the law forbids any sort of close encounters between couples before marriage, and because she knows her mother would not approve of her lowering he caste to marry him.

The story is not to complicated at first, how ever, it does become so. America has to figure out if she wants to be there for herself and not for her family. Competition is hard, and all the girls are not as nice as she expected them to be.

For the prince how ever, its a bit more complicated. He is the one who needs to figure out which one of the girls want him, for him, and which one of them want him for the crown, his position and the power all of those will bring to the chosen one and their family. At the same time he also has to deal with the fact that his father is pushing for a certain lady, because of her upbringing, and he does not like how America is showing Maxon things about the lower castes that he’d never known of imagine existed before…

Meanwhile the Palace is being attached by the rebels, making the Selection a bit more complicated that it would have been. They seemed to also come from different fronts, and there for, The Northerners are less dangerous than the Southerners, making some of the selection ladies nervous and  ready to leave when they get to see part of the hardness that the royal family have to endure…

In the mean time, Maxon and America, both being from very different upbringings have found some common ground with in each others way of thinking and get along rather well. Sometimes better than others, of course… This is their story first and foremost.

All in all, I liked it. Its a good YA book and it keeps you hooked. When one conflict gets resolved, another one surfaces, making this series a page turner. I enjoyed the characters and the forward way of thinking (with in the parameters of the book and their society) of both the main characters, Maxon and America. She is a trip! Honestly, you will laugh with her and be completely taken aback by some of her reactions and responses…

I hope you enjoyed this review. Don’t forget that I am also in the video portion of the IGeekBooks Blog on Youtube, with something new, reviews and TBR lists, etc… every week.

Here is the link to those videos, don’t forget to Subscribe to get notified when a new one is uploaded.

If you want to join the conversation here is the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @ccalvarez90

PS: did anyone read “The Heir” by Kiera Cass. It’s the last book and I read the synopsis and was not sold… What did you think of it?

Leave your comments below and please tell me what you think!!

As always, I hope you have a great book keeping you company.

Have a great day y’all, Ill see you soon…

C