I bought a few books and received a few from publishers this year so I made a small book haul on my YouTube channel.
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I bought a few books and received a few from publishers this year so I made a small book haul on my YouTube channel.
Make sure you like and subscribe for future content!!
If you watch Booktube videos then I am sure you’re no stranger to the Magical Readathons but if you’re asking “WTF is that?!” then let me explain a little.
The Magical Readathon was created by BookRoast on YouTube. You can find her N.E.W.T.s announcement video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq7vFHcngYs&t=452s
We sat our O.W.L.s back in April, and I was going back and forth about I was going to take part in this readathon because so much is happening in August, but here we are and I am really diving in headfirst into the N.E.W.T.s.
My chosen career path is Mind Medic, so I have a shit ton of stuff I need to read.
I need to sit for Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Muggle Studies, Potions, and Transfiguration. The kicker is to get an O you need to read the prompts for each grade before getting to the O. The grades go A(cceptable) E(xceeds expectations) O(utstanding) O being the top mark.
I need to get an O in Charms.
A- Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover. I decided to go with Sorcery of Thorns. I just love the art on the cover.
E- Read a Comic. For this, I went with Teen Titans: Raven
O- Read a paperback book. I chose We Hunt the Flame because I have a floppy paperback of this book.
I need an O in Defense Against the Dark Arts
A- Book that’s black under the dust jacket. I chose Suspicious Minds which I believe is a Stranger Things prequel.
E- First book you remembered from your TBR. For some reason Fahrenheit 451 popped into my head, so that’s what I will be reading.
O- Book written by an English author or that takes place in England. I chose Strange Ink because while the author now lives in Australia, he was born in England.
I need an E in Muggle Studies.
A- Cover that includes an actual photo element. I picked Darkfever because I’ve been wanting to reread this book so I can continue the series.
E- Book set in our real world. I picked How Do You Like Me Now?
I need an E in Potions.
A- Read your friend’s fave book. I will be reading The Raven Boys (finally) thanks to Melinda!!
E- Book with cover with your Hogwarts house color. I chose The Girl the Sea Gave Back which TitanBooks will so kindly send to me.
I also need an E in Transfiguration.
A- Read a book with LGBTQA+ representation. I chose to read Wilder Girls. I do believe this has LGBTQA+ rep, but please correct me if I am wrong.
E- Read a Book that’s not a first in the series. I chose Charmcaster because the Spellslinger series is hilarious and amazing!
That is 12 books in total!! I am really pushing it here but I think if I focus my energy I can pull it off. Maybe.
Are you taking part in the N.E.W.T.s? What career did you choose and what do you plan to read? Comment to let me know!!
Any time there’s some element of magic involved in a story, it typically catches my attention.
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey popped up on my radar while watching a book tube video. I had not heard a single murmur about it before this, and I instantly wanted to read it. So I did!
Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.
But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.
I loved this book!
It had a murder mystery, it had magic, and it had the right amount of humor sprinkled in. I really loved the main character of Ivy. She’s pretty flawed, and the way Sarah Gailey wrote her, she felt so real to me. I wanted to be her friend, and her assistant in this case.
Don’t go into this thinking you’re getting some adult Harry Potter with murder. While the magic is there, the murder mystery and the characters are at the forefront of this novel. We don’t get great explanations as to how the magic system works in this world, and we don’t get to know much about the magical events until the end.
While I enjoyed the story, I called the ending right from when Ivy reaches the school.
That didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this novel AT ALL. I have been struggling for weeks to find a book that would really capture my attention and this did the trick.
I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, quick, and slightly magical read.
It did lose a star for the predictability of it, I still loved it very much!
This gets four out of five metal horns from me!
I am starting to update my YouTube channel on a more consistent basis, and I hope you will check it out!
You can find my weekend reading vlog here: https://youtu.be/Qf_rq21U5tQ
And you can also watch me roast my horrible teen poetry here: https://youtu.be/0VbkUk42eEM
Make sure you like the videos and subscribe! Looking forward to growing my channel!
It’s difficult to narrow down 122 books into a top ten list, but I have managed it. It took me a couple of days to figure it out, but what you see here are the ten books that captured my heart and soul. There’s a little something of everything in this list, and I hope some of these books land on your 2019 TBR piles!
Starting from number 10…
This is a middle grade novel, but one that seems to grab the imagination and make you want to jump into as much middle grade fantasy as possible. Sure it’s aimed for children, but who says adults can’t enjoy them as well?
You follow a young girl named Morrigan Crow. This little girl is cursed, and this curse means she will die at midnight of her 11th birthday. Then she gets rescued by Jupiter North who takes her to a magical place called Nevermoor. There she must compete in 4 trials to join the Wundrous Society.
This book gave me Harry Potter feels, and not because of any blatant copying like many other middle grade novels have tried in the past but because the author has created a magical world where kids (of all ages) can escape to.
9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
This was soul crushing on so many levels but I wish more people knew of Henrietta’s story. This is a true story about a black woman who died in 1951 of Cancer and how doctors and researchers have used her cells in Cancer research. You also get a glimpse into the poor family’s life situation, and how it profoundly impacted their misunderstandings of what was happening with Henrietta’s cells. The doctors were extremely irresponsible and while the HeLa cells have become important in the science community, the way they came to be is extremely hard to learn about, but also very important.
8. The Extinction Trials
The reason this book caught my attention was the little sticker that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park” I was instantly sold. I can’t sit here and say the book has the best writing, but you have to suspend your belief of the world for a bit and just dive into the story. Both this one and the second one in the series are extremely fun to read. It is exactly what they say in the sticker. You are thrown into a world where dinosaurs exist and teenagers are questioning the reasoning behind adults’ decisions. I enjoy this series and I am looking forward to reading the third book.
7. Only Human
Only Human is the third and final book (I believe) in the Themis Files series. The series starts with Sleeping Giants. In Sleeping Giants you follow Rose. When she was a little girl riding her bike around her house she falls into a hole, when emergency personnel show up, they realize she’s laying on a giant metal hand. In the story you follow her into adulthood as she becomes one of the main researchers trying to figure out where the hand came from, and what more is there to this mysterious item. This series made me fall in love with science fiction, and I just can’t get enough of it. If you love sci-fi then please check it out.
6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
This was a crazy and wonderful ride of a book. I don’t want to give too much detail because I went into it completely blind and I think it helped make this book one of the best I’ve read all year. Basically you follow the character of Evelyn Hugo who was a well known and loved Hollywood actress as she tells her life story to a journalist that SHE chose. She would ONLY tell her life story to this girl, and what a story it is.
5. Notes on a Nervous Planet
This is another non-fiction book that I really loved. It delves into how we can stay sane in a world that’s always online and screaming into the void. There are some really beautiful things that Matt Haig says, many of which were eye opening for me. Although I do think he should reflect a bit more because I actually had to stop following him on social media. He spends a lot of time on twitter just yelling about things and at people, and that is counter productive to what he talks about in his very own book.
4. The Last Magician
The Last Magician was a book I finished recently. I really enjoyed the magic in it, and the elements of time travel. It’s like someone mashed together bits of Harry Potter and Doctor Who and this book came out. The characters were amazing, the plot was fun, and the ending completely took me by surprise. If you are looking for a fun magical YA, then this book should be on your list.
3. The Collapsing Empire
I was never big on Science Fiction books, but the Themis files changed that, and so I started to pick up more and more Sci-fi. The Collapsing Empire tells a story about a new world called The interdependency. People use what is called the flow to move from place to place and travel faster than the speed of light, but it seems like the flow might be changing, and with it the entire way humans have built their lives. I loved the way John Scalzi didn’t try to make this an overly complicated story, and somehow it still gripped me from start to finish.
2. The Cruel Prince
This was a surprising read for me. The only book I ever read from Holly Black was the one she wrote with Cassandra Clare (my absolute least favorite writer of all time) and that book was such a blatant rip off of Harry Potter, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from The Cruel Prince. But I ended up really enjoying the book. You follow Jude who’s parents were murdered right before her eyes when she was 7, and the killer took her and her sisters to his fairy world. Maybe you’re like me and you’re thinking, “Please no, not another fairy book” but this book was just fun to read. Some characters are complete dicks, others are complete morons, but I enjoyed following their mistakes and adventures.
1. Traitor’s Blade
The Traitor’s Blade is the first book in the Greatcoats series and while I typically take FOREVER to finish a series, I actually read every book in this one. One after the other! This is a fantasy novel just feels like a warm hug on a cold night. Which is strange to say because there is quite a lot of violence. The thing is, the main characters Falcio, Kest, and Brasti might be some of the best fantasy characters ever written. Their humor is amazing, and their friendship makes this series what it is. I kind of want to reread all four books again in 2019, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day we will get more books written in this world. If you’re tired of waiting for George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss to release their books then give the Greatcoats series a try!
So those are my top ten books of 2018 and I can’t wait to read more in 2019!! What are some of your favorite books of this year?
The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas
Published in Paperback on: July 2, 2018
Length: 288 Pages
Thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinion.
In this spellbinding novel, a young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel centuries-old family secrets.
Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the tangled history that binds the two sides of his family. For generations, the men of the al-Raqb family have served as watchmen of the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, built at the site where the infant Moses was taken from the Nile. Joseph learns of his ancestor Ali, a Muslim orphan who nearly a thousand years earlier was entrusted as the first watchman of the synagogue and became enchanted by its legendary–perhaps magical–Ezra Scroll. The story of Joseph’s family is entwined with that of the British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart their hallowed Cambridge halls on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue.
The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a moving page-turner of a novel from acclaimed storyteller Michael David Lukas. This tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces–potent magic, forbidden love–that boldly attempt to bridge that divide.
My Thoughts: This book was beyond beautiful. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but at the end I came out feeling like something was added within my heart. The story is told from three different points of view, and they’re somewhat loosely related to one another, you discover in the end how it all ties together nicely.
Out of the three points of view my least favourite was actually Joseph. It felt like he was holding everything and everyone an arms length away, and because this is how he comes across, it was hard to connect to him. I really loved Ali’s point of view. It was engaging and beautiful. His was the story that really grabbed me and made me fall in love with the story and setting.
This book is beautiful but it also feels a bit rushed. An idea of this nature feels like it should be really fleshed out, and it really could have been. Maybe then I would have liked Joseph and the sisters points of view a little more. The writing was lovely, but again missing just a little spark to really hook the reader.
I would still recommend this book to any historical fiction lovers. It’s now available in paperback internationally.
I gave this four out of five metal horns!
Published: April 3,2018
Length: 455 pages
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this alternate history tale with zombies, but what I got was a punch to the face. First of all, it’s well written, and the characters are fleshed out really well. You could feel what they’re feeling and what more could you ask for in a story? Then you have the political commentary thrown in, and it’s just such a creative way of putting forth facts about American History within a fictional world.
Jane is in this school to learn how to protect wealthy white people from the undead, but in the process, she learns a lot more than she bargained for. I liked the fact that the MC spoke her mind even in situations that could be dangerous to do so. Something that is still prominent today if we really think about it. The author herself gets a lot of crap for speaking her mind, and I think a bit of that comes through in Jane.
There are some scenes that are a tough pill to swallow, but that feels like the point as well.
There was a spark of romance, but it didn’t drown out the rest of the story. The action scenes are extremely well written, and I really enjoyed this alternate history story. I am not sure if this is a duology, trilogy, or a series, but I do know I am looking forward to the next book!
I gave this 4 out of 5 metal horns!
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