April and May 2017 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-up

Reading

Between April and May I read eight novels.

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Title

The Sun is also a Star

Short Synopsis

Two teenagers meet and fall in love on the day that one of them is being deported.

Note: I received an advanced copy from the publisher. However, this is is with regards to the final audiobook, which I did not receive from the publisher. Opinions are my own.

Thoughts

I liked this book more than I expected. The characterization is great, and the novel was more thought provoking than I thought it would be.

Rating

4 blue jays

24909346

Title

Gemina (Illuminae #2)

Short Synopsis

Large corporations plot to get away with mass murder to make profits in space.

Note: I received an arc from the publisher. I read the first half this way, but decided to wait for the release date because so many details were to come. I listened to the second half of this book in audiobook form. Opinions are my own.

Thoughts

The gap between my reading of the first and second half of this book comes down to bad timing more than anything else. I started reading this book right before going on vacation, and a million things started the moment I got back from vacation, so this book sort of fell by the wayside.

Apart from that this was a really fun, suspenseful read.

Rating

4 blue jays

29939230

Title

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

Short Synopsis

The third book in a trilogy that I cannot write a synopsis of without spoiling books one and two.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this book, but it was a slower read than the previous books. Also, I didn’t get all of the resolution I’d been hoping for. For more of my thoughts on the Shades of Magic series see my series review.

Rating

4 blue jays

25958849

25958848

Titles

The Scrivener’s Bones (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #2)

The Nights of Crystallia (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #3)

Short Synopsis

Alcatraz fights against the cults of evil librarians that secretly rule the world.

Thoughts

I thought the second book was hilarious, but the third book started to get a little old. I think I would have enjoyed book three more if I hadn’t read them so close together.

Rating

Book two gets a 4/5. Book three gets 3/5.

4 blue jays

3 blue jays

41810

Title

The Robots of Dawn (Robots #3)

Short Synopsis

Bayley must visit a Spacer world to prove a man’s innocence.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this novel and am sad that this seems to be the last book with Baley as the protagonist. However, I think this was my least favorite book in the series. This has a lot to do with the fact that Asimov’s romance writing skills are rather cringe worthy.

Rating

4 blue jays

28449207

Title

Strange the Dreamer

Short Synopsis

Young man who loves libraries goes on a long journey.

Thoughts

‘I really enjoyed this book. See my review for my full thoughts.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

18198687

 

Title

The Revealed (The Missing #7)

Short Synopsis

Seventh book in a series about missing children from history.

Thoughts

This series has drawn out a little too long for my tastes. This book was fun, but I won’t be reading the final novel.

Rating

3 blue jays

Writing

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Most of the month was spent revising short stories. I wanted to do more editing on one of my novel length project, but at least I met my goal.

Camp April 2017 Stats

I’m planning to participate again in July. As of the moment, my goal is to get a significant portion of the way through the short story I talked about in my Beautiful People for Writers post this past May.

Bluejay Feather

Any thoughts on these books? 

What did you read last month?

Anyone participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next July? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Shades of Magic Series Review

220552622076487929939230Titles: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic Series)

Author: V. E. Schwab

Published: 2015-2017

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: Kell is one of the only magicians able to travel between parallel worlds. Situated in his world’s version of London, he acts as intermediary to the royalty of three worlds. Bringing messages and information between them. Yet, behind the royals’ backs, Kell illegally transfers goods between worlds.

This smuggling remains a quiet side business until the day Kell makes a mistake and transfers something he shouldn’t. Something that puts everything and everyone Kell cares about at risk. It’s up to him and his new companion Delilah Bard, a thief from our world, to save all three Londons Kell travels to.

Review: The first two books captivated me and the third was enjoyable. Book one and two are some of the only books of their length I’ve read in a single day. Book three took a few days more, but the fact that it is the longest of the series might have something to do with this.

Other reviewers have said that they had a hard time getting into the first book, but I did not find this to be the case. I think my reading experience was different because I started the first book at a time when I had several hours to devote to reading without interruption. Books one and two are some of the only books I’ve read that have kept me up long past midnight in the last few years.

Something I’ve noticed about many of V. E./Victoria Schwab’s characters is that many of her male leads have personality traits more often found in female leads with the opposite true for her female leads. This holds true in this series for Kell and Lila. The dynamic that results from these character traits in Schwab’s dual point of view novels with one male and one female lead character contrast each other nicely.

Kell has, for the most part, lead a sheltered life up until the start of the first book. He was raised in a palace as part of the royal family with most everything provided for. Yet, Kell also has an identity crisis. He is one of the only members of his kind, a blood magician known as an Antari, and was adopted into the royal family. Kell’s search for identity contributes to some of the series’ main obstacles.

Lila spends her days picking pockets in our world’s version of London. Not the version of today, I believe it’s meant to be set sometime in the 19th century but can’t remember for sure. Lila dreams of becoming a pirate and leaving London. She enjoys cross dressing to the point that none of the authorities searching for her know she is a girl.

Holland is one of the series most developed side characters. He is the Antari from White London, and the only other Antari Kell knows at the start of the book. It takes a while before the reader gets to know him, but my perspective of Holland as a character changed drastically once I learned his motives.

Rhy is another major side character. He too undergoes much development throughout the series. While I liked Rhy, I don’t think I loved him the way many other reviewers seem to.

The different Londons contrasted one another well. I liked how Red London, White London, and Gray London were all surrounded by different counties with different cultures and histories.

That said, I had some issues keeping the world-building straight. I don’t know if this is because I read the first few books so quickly, or because it was just hard to keep track of. While it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment, I was somewhat confused by the characters’ appearances/the characteristics common among some of the ethnic groups featured in the novel. For example, Kell is described as pale, but Prince Rhy has dark skin. I suppose this could be explained by Kell being adopted, but it still made me wonder if I was reading their descriptions incorrectly.

Rating: 4.5/5 for books one and two 4/5 for book three with a 4/5 for the series as a whole.

4 blue jays