You read that right! For my 16th birthday my family and friends surprised my twin sister and I with a trip to Universal together! IT WAS AMAZING
Everything was PERFECT, but obviously most of you are most interested in.... HARRY POTTER. YES It's as great as you imagined (and maybe even better!). Here are some pictures!!
Let me know in the comments if any of you have ever been to Harry Potter World or if you plan to!
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Synopsis: "It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall."
Review: This book series has turned me into such a fantasy lover; I am forever changed. Thank you V.E. Schwab. AGOS was such a thrill to read because I was absolutely in love with the first book as well and was really curious about how Kell and Rhy and Lila were doing. She did such an amazing job of introducing these new AMAZING characters (especially the dark ones) and I really could not predict a single thing and I probably gasped over 1000 times throughout this book because every twist and turn just kept me flipping. Admittedly it did take me awhile to really get into the grind of things with this book but the second half was an absolute page turner (AND I REALLY JUST WANT THE THIRD BOOK).
The first line of this book already made me fall head over heels because it described Lila SO PERFECTLY, "Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble." (So perfect right?!) Lila goes through a LOT of stuff throughout this novel and I would personally say we see a bit more of Lila in AGOS then ADSOM. Lila is one of my favorite female lead characters because really has that air of confidence as well as believing she can do ANYTHING. However many times I really just wanted to pull Lila back because she truly runs right into every situation and sometimes it feels too dangerous and every choice feels like the last straw and when her luck would finally dry out. My only comment on her is sparks fly (in two ways... )
Alucard Emery... I have really mixed feelings about him. He is a newly introduced character in AGOS and I saw his good side first and then his bad side and overall I was(and am) thoroughly conflicted of his mentality. Then his connection with Rhy ( I won't say how) but OMG I didn't see it at all. Alucard is such a unique character and although risky he is such a graceful and wise character strangely. He seems to have many secrets (but who doesn't in this book?) and he although his full backstory is never fully divulged there is a lot of different sides to Alucard that are somewhat similar and yet entirely different. Overall he really brought so much to the first of half of AGOS and really was one the main reasons to push me to get to that second half action.
After ADSOM It's clear Rhy and Kell's connection would cause some changes but I didn't even guess half of the changes they made to accommodate their new life LIKE THE GAMES. The games are literally such an amazing idea that was also perfectly described. Magic. Everywhere. (<-- pretty much my brain during the games) The games brought back a bit of deja vu and I found myself feeling a hunger game + divergent vibe but without the life risking part.
Love is finally introduced. I won't say when and how but YES confirmed. I loved it because there wasn't much and that kept this more fantasy and adventure related which really kept me turning and not focusing on the love part (at least not really but you know me love is too fun to read about *shrugs*)
My favorite part of this book has to be the plot. As Lila and Kell travel or (As Travars) through different parts of their lives Rhy and many different people play a part and alter so many different things and their life is nothing short of a grand adventure. V.E. Schwab writes a heck of a fantasy story so just go and read AGOS or ADSOM if you haven't yet!
PS: If anyone talks to V.E. Schwab can you ask her WHERE DOES SHE GET THESE NAMES because they are ALL so FREAKIN' BEAUTIFUL!!!
Opinion Spoilers: Holland DOES come back and that whole story surrounding him was so intriguing. Then there was Ojka WHERE DID SHE EVEN COME FROM I dislike her and feel so bad for her and honestly she's such a pawn for Holland that I end up made at Holland and the circle goes on and on.
Cover: ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ seriously Will Staehle you are too good
Favorite Quote(s): "Magic is tangled, so you must be smooth.
Magic is wild, so you must be tame.
Magic is chaos, so you must be calm.
Are you calm, Kell? " (pg 55)
"Even the stars burned in color now.
What he'd always taken for white had become an icy blue, and the night sky, once black, now registered as a velvet purple, the deepest edge of a bruise." (pg 192)
"The dusty world shuddered around him in response, as if by breathing, he breathed life into it, set the time stuttering forward into motion." (pg 194)
WHY AM I HERE?!
I'm here because it is a very special day in my life :). hmmm.. May 20th.. you may be asking, but Stephanie I don't know of any highly anticipated books coming out, or Taylor Swift doesn't seem to be introducing a new album so why is this day so special?!
IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WHOOT WHOOT!
Yep I'm finally 16 (so old ahhhh)
I honestly didn't have any epiphanies or anything at all. I even had a chem quiz today. However, I'd like to thank everybody for everything. (I often think birthdays make you more grateful for everything than thanksgiving + there's presents so it's sort of like thanksgiving + christmas?!!!)
In the past 16 years of my life I have experienced lots of things and done many things. I couldn't have done anything without my family (duh how else would I get birthed) Also my twin sister (so yes it's her birthday too) and my older sister. Next, I am more than grateful for my many friends who are able to handle my extreme weirdness and not run away screaming. Last, but not least, I'd like to thank the bookish community for being a part of my last half a year and already impacting me so much!
For fun I'll do a little 16 random facts about me:
1. I love dogs (like a lot), but I can't have one.
2. I wear glasses. (and have been for the past 7 years!)
3. I can tell the difference between my twin sister and I even in our baby pics!
4. I run a bookstagram! (@bringing.paperback) (lol shameless self promo)
5. I love to bake! (but I'm pretty bad... especially with macaroons)
6. I laugh a lot and sometimes really weirdly...
7. At the same time I'm shy (especially with adults or strangers)
9. I have to try to dream to fall asleep
10. I don't like coffee or tea (sorry, but thank god I don't get very sleep very often!)
11. I really like cheesecake.
12. I am a sophomore in high school (or I think that's year 10 or 11 in the UK?!)
13. My signature on all my posts is a crown because that's what my name (stephanie) means!
14. I used to have a guinea pig and in her honor I am vegetarian one week a year from the day she died.
15. I have an identical twin sister.
16. I have no idea what to be or do when I grow up.
(that was a lot harder than I though! I almost just quit at 9 lol)
Comment your birthdays down below! Thank you again for everything! (Now I'm going to go eat or read ;) !! )
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Synopsis: "Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.
Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped."
Review: The creativity of this book is absolutely infinite. Victoria Schwab has literally left my brain turning and speechless. There has rarely been a book where I have been completely enthralled and didn't have any romance (in fact it's already pretty rare to just find any young adult book without romance). The only romance is my love of this book. Everything was so vibrant and detailed and I can't stop thinking about it. Initially I just saw tons of pictures of this on bookstagram and then, without even reading the synopsis I went on to get this book from the library and I couldn't be happier because this book really lived up to its hype.
Let's start with Kell. Kell is such a perfectly described person (or Antari) but I really felt like I knew him while at the same time he was able to keep this mysterious presence throughout the story. From the smallest gold button to his magical blood and his darkened eye everything about Kell was known and unknown and truly a character I really enjoyed unfolding by reading more.He seems cold yet ready to help everyone, especially his beloved brother/prince, Rhy.
Then there's Lila. When Lila was first introduced I honestly had no idea what to do with her and how she would be relevant, it turns out she was VERY important. I loved how Lila was portrayed. She reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Bennet (sorry reading Pride and Prejudice for school right now) in that she knew what she wanted and did anything she could to achieve it... hmm now that I think about it she could pretty much be like all the other incredible strong female leads in recent ya novels!.However Lila is different in her own quirky way.
PLOT TWISTS WERE PRESENT. To be fair.. I really couldn't predict almost any of the novel due to it being so different from what I usually read, but STILL some of these plot twists were CRAAAYZY. (but amazing!!!) At some points I literally just gasped out loud... However I also found that I had a TON of questions throughout the book, but I guess the answer for all could just be magic...
ADSOM honestly was not what I expected but still such an incredible novel. I loved being able to see this whole different place form in front of me. I feel like this book really taught me or at least pushed me to be more adventurous and love harder. However this book is not really over! Yep that's right now I'm headed off to go and read A Gathering of Shadows to catch up more on Kell and Lila and just maybe learn some more of the Londons and some life lessons mixed in! I would really recommend this book to and fantasy/ adventure lovers out there, but I think this book is really great for anyone so go and check it out!
Cover: ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★ (UM FREAKIN GORGEOUS)
Favorite Quote: " 'Some people steal to stay alive, and some steal to feel alive. Simple as that.'
'And which are you?' asked Kell.
'I steal for freedom,' " - pg 266
(not really a quote but I LOVED THIS LANGUAGE) " 'As Athera. To grow. As Pyrata. To burn. As Illumae. To light. As Travars. To Travel. As Orense. To open. As Anasae. To dispel. As Hasari. To heal.' " - pg 257
UGH AP TESTS SO HARD. This year is my first year taking a AP test and I'm so stressed. (I'm taking AP Human Geography) Since I don't have much time to talk I like to hear what you guys are taking! (If you aren't from the US I think AP Tests are somewhat like GCSE for UK and idk for other places SORRY if you know let me know!) So yea comment below on what courses you are taking!
The Blood Between Us by Zac Brewer
*I was sent an ARC copy ( through a giveaway on goodreads run by Harper) of The Blood Between Us, but this will in no way affect my review. *
Synopsis: "Family secrets turn deadly in this edgy page-turner about the insidious limits of labels and the ties that bind just a little too tightly, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.
Growing up, Adrien and his sister, Grace, competed viciously for everything. It wasn’t easy being the adopted sibling, but Adrien tried to get along; it was Grace who didn’t want anything to do with him. When their scientist parents died in a terrible lab fire, there was nothing left to hold them together.
Now, after years apart, Adrien and Grace are forced to reunite at the elite boarding school where their parents were teachers. Being back around everyone he used to know makes Adrien question the person he’s become, while being back around Grace makes him feel like someone he doesn’t want to be.
For as much as Adrien wants to move on, someone seems determined to reopen old wounds. And when Adrien starts to suspect that Grace knows more about their parents’ deaths than she let on, he realizes there are some wounds no amount of time can heal. If Adrien isn’t careful, they may even kill him. "
Review: This book really addresses the new changes of society and the acceptance of LGBT's as well as Zac Brewer himself, a transgender and gay. (PS. The letter he wrote in the beginning of the novel for all his readers was incredibly touching.)
Yes this book talked about family and mystery and communication, but I think one of the main points was trust. Throughout the novel Adrien did NOT trust his sister, Grace, AT ALL, but in a way he didn't trust almost anyone, but progresses to throughout the novel.
I found this book to be a great shorter read (especially since it's AP test time). It was a good book with a bit of everything (action, love, mystery, and drama). The book was just great for something to find yourself in another world with someone else's problems for a while. Adrien had plenty of problems to share.
Adrien and Grace's relationship was sad and yet a little relatable. I have two sisters myself (a twin and an older sis) whom I love, but can hate at moments and that's why I could see Adrien's side of things. It never feels good to be left out. Being a twin is a lot like Adrien and Grace's circumstance because everything needs to be fair and equal or nothing at all. The slight twist is that their equality really set off Grace's fury.
Grace is that person we all love, but hate. She's the girl that got perfect grades but partied every day and never even touched her textbook. It sucks because no matter how much I wanted to see Grace's side of things in the beginning of the book I couldn't due to seeing things through Adrien's perspective. BUT DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS (like I did) Things aren't always what they seem (Another great point this novel really shows)
Adrien's sexuality. He really went through a lot, but I was glad that there was time for him to figure himself out. Unfortunately a lot of people are against certain sexualities which could even be seen through the peer pressure Adrien faced. This book really advocates for people to be whoever they are HOWever they are, because it's ok.
THE PLOT TWIST. I saw it coming, but not really. I felt in my bones that something would happen, but what actually happened was nowhere close to my radar. SO YEA There was THAT.
This book was very cute. There was a lot of chemistry related with this book so at the start of each chapter there were chem vocab words and definitions which made me laugh. (especially since I'm actually taking chem this year and I've been learning a lot of them). It was pretty cool to see something I learned in this book.
The only problem I had with this book was the ending. I have a couple questions. ( What were on those pages?! ) As well as my dislike for the quickness of everything in the last 1-2 chapters. I felt stranded, because I felt like I had just gotten to understand everything and quickly my world was turned upside down. (otherwise I would have given this book a 5 star)
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend this to anyone in need of a book, but doesn't have a lot of time!
Favorite Quote(s): " 'To think that someone could love someone else so much that they would give up everything for them.'
'It must have been a hard choice to make.'
'When it's love, I don't think the choice is all that hard at all. You just feel it. Even if it scares you. It's just there.' " (pg 230)
" 'So many of the stars are dead before we see them.'
'There's a cheery thought.'
'It's true. The light reaches Earth on delay, and by the time it does, so many of the stars are already gone.' I wondered how quickly all the light in my life would disappear. My parents, my friends, my dreams. My chest felt heavy. 'Kinda makes you wonder why they bother shining at all.' "(pg 231)
Forcing a Book Slump
You probably all think I'm crazy. Who would do that to themselves right? Well it's almost AP's and so I decided to stop reading for awhile but it's been a lot harder than I thought! I miss having the back of my mind running around in another world while I live in mine.
What do you guys like to do when you can't read? I've been studying of course but I was just wondering :) I'd like to know more about you guys so in the comments mention whether or not you're as crazy as me and has also participated in a forced book slump and also a favorite hobby and why!
OR simply just start a conversation in the comments below because I like to get to know a bit more about any of you that read my reviews and blog post!
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.