The Last Magician Review

To start, I apologize for my seven month long absence. Life got a bit crazy and I need to get things back under control. But I did manage to complete one of my reading goals for the year with this book!! 500 pages!! Now the story is a whopping 498, but I decided to be an over achiever and read the acknowledgments also which totaled to 500. So shout out to my local book club for picking this beast as our July book!

I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

The Last Magician follows a young woman named Esta who has the ability to control time, not only can she stop it but she can also travel back in time. (I’m assuming everyone can pick up from the title that the book centers around magic). Esta is also a thief and A very good one at that. She goes back in time to steal powerful artifacts, this leads to her being sent back to 1902 to steal the most difficult thing she ever has. Along the way she meets a plethora of interesting characters and faces several challenges all while she believes she is helping to save her kind.

I went into this book with no information, which is probably best for myself. It started out very slow and that made me nervous considering the size of this book. But as it progresses it develops a steady pace, still on the slow side but manageable. The author focused a lot on the plot which was wonderful and constantly moving in the slightest ways. I never found myself pausing to question what had happened but I also never rushed to find out what was next.

The characters. In the beginning I found many of them hard to relate to but still enjoyable. Esta is a strong female which is nice to see, but she was described like every other strong female lead. Nothing really special about her except her ability. Harte who is the main male character, I enjoyed because he was an ass. Like the whole time. He had soft moments, but at the end of the day he was here to do what he needed to to regardless of who was involved. As the book progressed I just enjoyed Harte’s character more and more, he was the only one that I felt had character development throughout the book. He was a devious ass and a gentleman all at once and I really liked that about him. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Esta and Harte. There was tension but it was more along the lines of trust issues because they were both using each other to complete their personal vendetta. Their relationship never consumed the story as it does in most, the plot was the primary focus. Another character I liked was Nibs, he is mainly a side character. I would even consider him a background character at times. But there is always one whether it’s a background or side character that is just full of surprises. That’s all I’m going to say about Nibs.

I was a bit disappointed with the way the author approached the settings. I feel like this story was so focused on the plot that the setting was forgotten. And considering the main character CAN TRAVEL THROUGH TIME, you would expect the settings to be more detailed and have better representation. But I do like that the concept of the Brink limited the area in the story as it does basically trap everyone possessing natural magic in the city of New York. So that is the only place Esta can go, but she can go into any time period New York has existed in. When a character goes from present day to 1902, I want a drastic setting change because these are two times in no way similar other than geographical location.

The last hundred or so pages actually made me a bit on edge, I wasn’t sure if they were going to be able to steal the book that they spent the entire story preparing to steal. The book basically holds the power to control all magic, so it’s a pretty big deal. After 400 pages I was expecting them to have at least attempted once to get it, but in the last hundred pages is when everything really kicks into gear. Betrayal is everywhere!!! And plot twists!!! The first twist I saw coming but what made it better was the following twist. The author basically baits you in with a predictable twist, then you’re hooked and she catches you with another twist. Totally unexpected! It was refreshing, but through all of this the story had a steady pace.

Overall I gave this book a 4/5 Stars, the fourth star is solely for the plot twists at the last second. It was an enjoyable read but not fast paced, keep you up at night enjoyable. I loved reading about the magic and watching the story progress but the lack of setting is keeping it from being a full five.

Thank you for reading my rambles. I will try to post another review soon and next time,

Tiffany

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2017 Favorites and 2018 Reading Goals

Spoiler free as always!

In 2017 I have read 26 books, I am pretty proud of this considering I’m a very busy person. I am however disappointed in the content I have read. I feel like I was very generous with my ratings and reviews this past year, but looking back I wasn’t wowed by very many books. So picking favorites for the year wasn’t very hard. I only chose three and they are in no particular order. They are as follows; A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Walled City by Ryan Graudin and Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. I do have reviews up for all of these so here is a brief summary of my enjoyment of these three!

A Monster Calls was a short, quick but emotional read. This is one of my favorites for the year because of the fact that I felt all of the emotions with this story. I cried a lot within the limited number of pages and I haven’t cried over a book in roughly two years! Also the illustrations in the book are beautiful! Walled City is a dystopian and I love dystopian! But lately they haven’t been making the cut with me, all of the dystopians I have read have been lacking. Walled City was refreshing with several unique characters and a fascinating setting! Also the authors writing is gripping. Carve the Mark. This book caused so many problems within the book community, it is so controversial. I loved it. The author reached with this story and it was gripping. I also loved reading about how everyone was so overwhelmed and upset by this book. You know the book is good when it causes a lot hype over controversial topics. I am a big fan of Veronica Roth so this was a win for me!

2018 Reading Goal and Challenges!

Over the past few months I have noticed my reading tastes changing. I have been focused a lot on reading as many books as I can regardless of if I enjoy it. This year I want quality over quantity! I will set a goal of 18 books but I want to enjoy what I’m reading and I want the stories to stick with me. I’m not going to be so generous with ratings and reviews and if I am not enjoying it, it’s ok if I don’t finish the book.

But I am going to challenge myself while reading. Here is my short list of challenges:

Read a book with 500+ pages. Large books intimidate me but I really want to tackle this one! Read an award winning book, quality over quantity again. Read a classic, this will always be on the challenge because I forever skip it. Re-read a favorite, I want to avoid slumps because I had three this year and reading favorites again always helps with slumps. And finally finish two series! I love stand alones but I have so many unfinished series!! For additional challenges I have decided to try to read 5 books from my tbr shelf and 5 books from my kindle. As for my blog…I will try to post once a month and I would like to improve my content, advice welcome!

2017 was not a good Reading year for my but I am going to try to make 2018 better! Embrace slumps and changes in tastes and fears. It’s going to be positive. As always thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

The Widow Review

***Spoiler Free***

The Widow by Fiona Barton is a physiological thriller that really makes you think. 

The story is told through multiple perspectives as we follow these people in the search for a missing two year old girl named Bella. Along the way horrible secrets are uncovered and we get to see how that slowly drives people apart.

Of all the characters I had two favorites: DI Sparks and the Widow, Jean. DI Dparks is the detective handling Bella’s case and it had not only engrossed him mentally as a detective but it begins to take a massive effect on his emotions. The author does a wonderful job of describing and displaying emotion with her characters. I believe that is another factor that makes this story so consuming, these areaverage people and as you read, you feel these emotions with the characters. Sparked also Reads people very well and is persistent.

The Widow. Jean is a very dynamic character. She begins as every normal person is, loves her husband and her job. But as the story progresses and she learns things about her husband she never knew and how involved in Bella’s disappearance he is we get to see her slowly unwind. Watching a character come undone is fascinating to me. It usually happens in one of two ways: they snap quickly or they try to make sense of these things as they slowly being to unravel. For Jean it’s the later. At first she stands by her husband but as time progresses we see her losing her vigor to maintain his lies and excuses. Her character development through the story and finally her ending result is astonishing. 

Fiona Barton is defiantly and author I will pick up again. Her writing style is beautiful and smooth. The way she executes her plot is outstanding. 5/5 Stars. 

As always, thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

Reading Vs. Adulting

This is not a review, I just want to talk about life and incorporating reading into it. 

For those of you who don’t already know: I’m 22 years old, a full time student, I work four part time jobs and I’m happily married. For my age, that is a hefty amount of things on my plate. It could be worse, yes, but I am extremely lucky to have this life. With all of that my favorite thing to do is read. Before I decided to “become an adult” I averaged between 70-80 books a year and could get through about two books a week. Now a days, I’m lucky if I start the book club book before the meeting. 

Reading has always been so important to me, it is comforting and relaxing and fills me with an overall sense of joy. And I will forever be greatful for the privilege to do that. But in the past few months I feel like reading has been placed on the back burner. Having all these adult responsibilities not only to myself but to others as well has really taken a toll on my reading frequency. Between classes, homework, five-six hours at this job, five more hours at that job and making time to actually see my husband I get a total of maybe twenty minutes to read. If that. 

But the fact of the matter is when you are in the middle stage of life, or as I like to call it, the getting yourself together stage, it is truly hard to just sit down and take a moment for yourself and read. You’re tired, cranky and have a million things to do. 

Maybe I’ll get my life in order soon or maybe not, but please bare with me. I will try to get more reviews up as soon as I can or I’ll try to add more hours to the day. Who knows. But if you have any ideas about adding more time to read into my day please let me know. I just needed to rant a bit. 

As always thanks for reading my ramble and until next time, 

Tiffany

November 9 Review

***Spoiler Free***

Colleen Hoover is a phenomenal writer. She can write about the worst possible thing you can imagine and make it nearly impossible to put the book down. You always want to know what’s next. 

November 9 follows Fallon and Ben who meet in a restaurant. They spend the day together and it’s a bit like insta-love but the great part is Fallon rejects it. Due to her moving across the country she doesn’t want to maintain a relationship until she knows who she is. So they agree to meet once a year on November 9th to maintain their relationship. 

Fallon is a burn victim who is slowly rediscovering herself after her accident. Ben is trying recover from his rough past. It’s your standard “two broke people fixing each other” plot. But it’s addicting. You’re watching these two characters go through their struggles while falling in love with each other over the course of five years (it’s really more like five days). Colleen Hoover is very good at tugging on the heart strings. 

Colleen is also very good at concealing her major plot twists. You know it’s coming because it’s Colleen, she’s going to do it. But she gives you little clues here and there until the actual event slaps you. And the thing with her plot twists is they are not little ones that effect one of two characters. They effect everything. Everything. And then everything spirals down hill! It’s great!  Colleen Hoover constantly gives the reader more than expected. 

However, readers have been noticing some issues with rape culture in the book. I personally didn’t feel like that was a center focus in the book but I can see where some scenes would fall in that spectrum. There are times when Fallon does say no and Ben will keep pushing. But like I said, it was not the dominating factor in the book. If there had been more scenes where this happened then I would be concerned, but I only notice two or three.  

Overall I gave this book 4/5 stars. It received 8/10 in my bookclub because the Misfits love themselves some CoHo. This book was gripping and shaking. It’s full of plot twists and substantial character growth and development. This would be a great read to get you out of a slump, quick and entertain! I wouldn’t expect less from Colleen Hoover. As always, thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

Disaster Falls Review

As always, I will try to avoid spoilers but will alert you if they should arise. 

Disaster Falls by Stephane Gerson is heart breaking. It took me a decent amount of time to read this book (which is roughly 250 pages long) because of how hard this hits the heart. 

We follow a father who has just lost his son, Owen, on a family trip to Disaster Falls. The family goes rafting and the youngest son, who is eight, dies on the rapids. The fact that this book follows the death of a child makes it difficult to read. Then on top of that you are reading from the view point of the father who feels like he is responsible for his sons death. Every other page strikes emotion into the reader. As someone who does not have children this hit me in a different way than if someone who has children were to read this story. But regardless of that matter, you are still able to feel empathy for this family. There were moments when I had to stop and put the book down because I couldn’t stop crying. 

The story begins with the father explaining how others have reacted towards Owens death. He explains how and why the family hid from the world to grieve. He also speaks a bit about the funeral and his concerns for his wife, as it is easier for him to worry about her well being rather than his own at this time. Another point he hits is his inattention to his other son Julian. This is another point that really got my emotions spinning because it’s not something that I noticed until it was pointed out. It made me feel awful and I wondered if this occurs in families who have experienced a loss of another child. Most of the beginning is what you would expect to read on the topic but the way it is written makes it difficult and on top of that you remember at times throughout that this is this boys father telling you all this. 

As the story progresses, slowly Owens father begins to share his belief that the death is his fault and the reader can really see how hard it is for him to see otherwise. You can feel him struggling to explain at times. Dad also compares his grief to his wife’s and how they handle it. Dad is baffled at how open his wife is with dealing with the loss of her baby, where he goes out of his way to avoid mention of it. 

There was a quote in the story that really sat with me as I read, “…while those who have lost a parent are called orphans, there is no word for those who have lost a child.” The reason this was on the forefront of my mind while I was reading is because often times, orphans are referred to as abandoned. But while reading I noticed that this father felt abandoned, not only by himself and other around him, but by his physical and mental strength during the accident. His feeling of failure is evident and that leads him to abandon himself at times. 

One thing I really liked about the setup of the book is that at the beginning of each chapter there is a message from someone regarding Owens death. For me this really put an emphasis on the weight that the outside world unknowingly places on the family as they try to adjust to this new life without their son. 

Overall I have this book a 4/5 stars. I did not give it a full five because at times I feel like there was not enough detail in some of the descriptions and I am a detail person, super picky about details. But with that being the only thing, this was a wonderfully heartbreaking story with a slap in the face at the last 50 or so pages. Stephane Gerson is a brave soul to share such a story with the world. Thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

If you would like more info about the author you can follow the link here: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/247711/stephane-gerson/ 

If you would like more info regarding the book, you can follow this link: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/536651/disaster-falls-by-stephane-gerson/

I have received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.