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

Broken Moon Review

This book was kindly sent to me for review by the author. Thank you.

***spoiler free***

Broken Moon follows Naiya, a young girl with a mysterious future ahead of her. She and her two brother encounter some interesting new friends while on the run from the society they grew up in. This story reads very much like a dystopian novel with some science fiction aspects. I’ll begin with what I liked about this book.

It’s very fast paced. It took me three days to read, if I didn’t have to work it would be finished in a day. The characters are constantly moving and there are new characters being introduced all the time. I felt like I was reading loads within a relatively short period of time. Pacing is a big thing with me in books, if it’s too slow I will automatically DNF (did not finish) the book no matter how great if it’s too slow. There was a lot to take in!

But this is where I found a lot of issues for me in the book. Starting with there being so much to take. I like that there is so much going on within the story, but there are loose ends everywhere. Another topic or problem is introduced without one being finished. There also isn’t a lot of detail explaining the new topics so you are left a bit confused for a few chapters. I kept reading excited to find out what all these things the character were discovering were and how they were going to play into the plot and I didn’t get as much of that as I wanted. The copies of the people that are being made is very interesting and I can see how that may blend with the concept of Terminus which seems to be this dimension between life and death, but I wish there was more details so we can theorize where the plot is going, how a war is going to happen in a place like that and what our main characters have to do with all of it. Now obviously this is going to be a series, there is no way all those loose ends are just going to sit there without further explanation. That makes me happy.

Details. I wanted more details the entire time. I felt like everything was explained only to the bare minimum. Clues, new info the characters picked up, fight and chase scenes, the stand offs and even the setting. I’m a big setting person, I want to be submerged in the story with the characters and world building is how I do it. Basically all that was explained is that everything is metal and everything goes up. The rich live on the bottom the poor in the top. And the wall surrounding the city, I understand that’s a big thing with science fiction and dystopian novels. Being trapped in your city and encountering outsiders at some point. But there is so much more to be done with the dystopian concept. The idea of dystopian is a fallen utopian society. So why does every fallen society have to have this wall? It’s driving me crazy! I feel like it limits the story and makes it blend in with all the other books in the genre. Give me something that stands out.

Another thing that bothered me was there was very little character development. The only development was Naiya becoming aware of this power she possesses. Not growing into it, which I did like that the author didn’t rush that. But there was no personal development for Naiya. She already is the “perfect character” she doesn’t need to develop confidence or determinations because she has them already. Her only character flaw seemed to be that she has a strange crush on the main male character Enoch who is her adoptive brother. I was excited for this to be told from a sibling perspective so her crush kind of weirded me out for awhile but the love story was not the center focus of the story which is fantastic!

Overall I gave this book a 3/5 Stars. I enjoyed where the story is going and hold out hope for future books. I am curious to find out where all these loose ends will go and how the characters play into the strange ongoings.

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

Salt to the Sea

Spoiler Free 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is a World War Two historical fiction following a plethora of characters as they make their way across the country to board the Wilhelm Gustloff and flee the terrors of war. 

The book is read through multiple character perspectives each coming from a different background. I loved being able to get glimpses from everyone without there being an odd pause in the story. The characters were well developed and easy to fall in love with.

The story progression was wonderful! It didn’t happen in the blink of an eye but it wasn’t too slow either. The author put enough descriptions into the writing to make you feel as though you are traveling with the characters at times but not so much as to find it boring. This is the first book I have read by Ruta Sepetys and I loved the flow of her writing and the way she words things. She surrounds you with beautiful and disastrous images. 

Many people don’t know the the Wilhelm Gustloff was an actual ship that was attacked by Russian submarines and sunk in the Baltic Sea. This novel centers around this little known disaster and the brutal journey that millions of people took to reach it. 5/5 stars for this heartbreaking story, but it is definitely one of my favorites of the year so far. 

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

Tiffany

The Creeping Review

Spoiler free, as always I will warn you before if any should arise! 

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy follows Stella, a girl who is about to enter her senior year of high school. She is also the girl who came out of the woods following the disappearance of her friend Jeanie. At the age of six Stella, Jeanie and her friends live in the small town of Savage. The play games and hunt monsters in the woods behind Jeanies house, until Jeanie disappears and Stella returns with no memeory of what happened. Jumping forward to the present in the story, Stella has made new friends and is popular in school. Just like a normal teenager, until another little girl is found dead at a party. We follow as Stella and her friends try to uncover whether the deaths of Jeanie and Jane Doe are the work or human sickos or something supernatural living in the forest, preying on little red-headed girls. 

I love the concept of this story! I like the idea of the monster living in the woods and all that supernatural junk. I was racking my brain the entire time trying to make the murders the work of a human, while the author tries to convince you otherwise. The pace of the story was smooth, never slow or too quickly. This is great for mystery stories like this, it gives you time to assemble your own theories. 

My one problem with this was the characters. The characters were aweful. Stella was an ok main character, she was annoying at times because of how wishy-washy she is. I feel like she can never make up her mind. I will say that about half way through the book Stella had some fabulous character development and growth and I found her less annoying after this. Zoey I did not like at all. Her attitude was rude and her personality was frustrating. She is the high school girl who is too worried about boys and popularity and her overly large breasts. At times she was very unlike a best friend towards Stella. She had some character development towards the end and she became more loyal but other than that, nothing. I did however like Sam, Sam was a great side character! Loyal, supportive, and at times stubborn. He wasn’t over bearing and he showed up at the right times. Stella’s dad bugged me. I don’t understand this character at all. How on Earth do you pay so little attention to daughter who was involved in a previous disappearance of a six year old child when another body shows up so similar to her case? He literally isn’t there for anything! As a parent, when something like this happens and your child becomes so involved, you should be more concerned with their safety than with anything else and he was absent or didn’t care. 

I was a little disappointed by the ending nothing major just because I was holding out hope that this creature who snatches little kids was found at the end. I wanted it to exist so much for the creepy factor, but the ending was satisfying and a bit shocking because it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Surprisin none the less. 

I gave this book a 3/5 stars because I couldn’t get over the characters. If it was one particular character I could put it aside but it was several. The story was great and the concept was wonderful. But with so many character issues, I couldn’t let that go.  As always, thanks for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

A Monster Calls Review

A Monster Calls is beautiful and heartbreaking. We follow Connor who is tormented by a reoccurring nightmare that he is forced to face when a Monster appears at his window one night. The monster wants the truth which is something Connor doesn’t want to admit. As we follow this young boy and how he tries to stay strong even though his mother is dying, you can’t stop your heart strings from being tugged. 

Along with this story are wonderful illustrations that I couldn’t get enough of! The story was well paced and the illustrations came just when you wanted them too! The whole thing flowed so smoothly it was over before I was ready for it to end. 

It’s hard to review this book without spoilers, so I will keep this short. A Monster Calls is a beautiful journey of a young boy facing his greatest fear and an unlikely “monster” helping him along the way. 5/5 stars and a mist read for everyone! 

Thanks for listening to my babbles and until next time,

Tiffany 💕

Carve The Mark Review!

***Spoilers***

I recently picked up Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth. I absolutely love her Divergent trilogy, it’s one of my favorite dystopian reads. I went into Carve The Mark knowing two things: 1. Its takes place in space. 2. There is a controversy over whether or not this book promotes racism and slavery. I will talk about that towards the end but for now here are my thoughts! 

Veronica Roth has this ‘thing’ with killing characters, I fully support this because it gives the story that much more depth and suspense to keep you on alert. So lots of people die in this book and that’s just fine. Her characters were well developed and strong and didn’t instantaneously fall in love. We follow Cyra and Akos along a journey with feuding colonies. It’s told in dual perspective which is one of my favorite styles to read in. Akos is from Thuvhe, a frozen area of this planet full of gentle and duffle people. While Cyra is from a more brutal and forceful colony across The Divide, Shotet. Their paths cross when Akos is kidnapped and forced to serve Cyra’s family. They develope a friendship and later in the book a romance. 

The setting is in space and on the planet that both Thuvhe and Shotet are trying to dominate. This is where I was slightly disappointed because I had very high expectations for the setting. I love space and stories that take place up in the great unknown and I love to see how the authors interpret this setting differently. The author didn’t give as much detail when it came to the setting, the descriptions of The Current (their power source) were wonderful but other than that I felt like it was very basic. The author did put a lot of work into the political aspect of this book and how the societies function so that help soften some of the disappointments from the setting. 

Now on to the big kicker, does this book promote racism? In my opinion, no. I can see how some people may get that idea but you have to understand, these are two completely different civilizations fighting to control a planet. They are at war. Did we all sleep through history when we talked about World War One? They are not going to be polite with one another, there is going to be name calling and property being destroyed because again they are essentially at war with each other, they are fighting for their home with societies that have never come to an agreement about anything. One of these colonies Shotet isn’t even recognized by the Assembly as a legal society because they just showed up one day! They are accommodating to Shotet religious and cultural customs until that can be established but that doesn’t mean they are being racist. I’m not saying racism is a good thing because it’s not but it doesn’t happen in the book. People are over interpreting things. The next thing: does it promote slavery? Yes, there is slavery in the book. I don’t believe it promotes slavery as the book takes place in a futuristic setting but the customs and ways of the societies are very old worldly. The people have traditions as if they live in the early 1800’s. And the only reason about Akos being kidnapped and forced to work for the Noavak family (Cyra’s family) is because his fate (predetermined by the Oracle and as far as we know unchangable) said that he was going to die in service to the Noavak family. If his fate was different I don’t believe he would be in the situation he was in. So yes there is slavery in the book but the author follows the plot of the story, they didn’t just desire to enslave the main character. 

Overall, I gave this book a 4/5 stars because the story was well deveoped and for going into it knowing very little I was surprised and will definitely be picking up the next one. Thank you for reading my rambles and until next time! 

-Tiffany