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The Magician King ~ Lev Grossman

June 17, 2019

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Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780452298019

432 pages

Source: Amazon

I really should have read the books before I watched the show, y’all.

Let me state that I don’t hate the books. I just think that, for once, the show might be better.

As far as the actual printed story, the book moves our Breakbills students from practical classroom magic to the more terrifying and, yet, awe inspiring magic of both Fillory and the real world.

We are, through the second volume, caught up on what happened to Quinten’s beloved childhood friend, Julia, who has apparently had a terribly rough go of things back on earth.

Julia’s post-Breakbills story is dark and gritty, making an excellent tale of an Ivy League super star fallen far, far from grace. Her backstory weaves into present day with the “properly trained” magic kids, almost writing an allegory for our social stigma surrounding traditional education versus more organic and hands on experience.

There are horrifying moments and tender ones, all weaving together to create a fuller and more wholistic look at the world that started with The Magicians.

With all of that said, the second book in Grossman’s Magicians series is by far the slowest of the three and it seems to plod along a great deal. Again, I think that had I read the books prior to watching the screen version, I would have enjoyed the books more.

The Summer Country ~ Lauren Willig

June 12, 2019

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Genre: Adult/Literary Fiction

Publisher: William Morrow

ISBN: 9780062839022

480 pages

Source: TLC Book Tours

I am so grateful to have been invited to be on the tour for this book.

It’s a bit of a departure from what I’ve been reading over the last little while which is why I jumped at the opportunity.

The story begins in Barbados in 1854, through the eyes of Emily Dawson, a poor vicar’s daughter. Her status falls flat compared to her much wealthier cousins, causing a bit of family friction.

Per her status and gender, no one expects the family business to fall to Emily, rather to her rather humbling and awkward cousin Adam. Things never go according to plan, in fact or fiction, though and the resulting effects set the scene for the rest of the book.

Soon, Emily is swept up in old family secrets, a rather reluctant renovation, political upheaval, and more than her desired amount of drama.

This book is both fast paced and gorgeously slow in rolling parts. Again, it is more of a portrait, a landscape, than my usual rollicking adventures, but in my personal moment of chaos, this beauty was exactly what I needed to sink my soul into.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Amanda Suanne Photography

About Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several novels. She lives in New York City with her family.

Find out more about Lauren at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

As usual, don’t just take my word for it. Check out these other TLC Book Tour stops!

Instagram Features

Tuesday, June 4th: Instagram: @rendezvous_with_reading

Thursday, June 6th: Instagram: @tarheelreader

Friday, June 7th: Instagram: @brookesbooksandbrews

Saturday, June 8th: Instagram: @theunreadshelf

Sunday, June 9th: Instagram: @giuliland

Monday, June 10th: Instagram: @writersdream

Monday, June 10th: Instagram: @somekindofalibrary

Review Stops

Wednesday, June 5th: BookNAround

Thursday, June 6th: A Chick Who Reads

Friday, June 7th: Reading Reality

Monday, June 10th: Broken Teepee

Tuesday, June 11th: Instagram: @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Wednesday, June 12th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Thursday, June 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, June 17th: Read Like a Mother

Tuesday, June 18th: Into the Hall of Books

Wednesday, June 19th: Laura’s Reviews

Thursday, June 20th: bookchickdi

Friday, June 21st: Always With a Book

TBD: Tuesday, June 4th: Instagram: @readingmama_reviews

The Everlasting Rose ~ Dhonielle Clayton

June 10, 2019

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Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

Publisher: Freeform

ISBN: 9781484728482

352 pages

Source: Barnes and Noble

It took me a minute to get back into this world because I read The Belles almost a year ago. But once I was back, I was in.

The Everlasting Rose picks up right where The Belles left off with our main cast of characters on the run (more like sprinting) from newly in charge Queen Sophie who is decidedly so much worse with more power. (Shocker.)

While the story picks right up, it’s a very different book. Where the first book was spent carefully building up a world, the second book takes pleasure in completely knocking it down.

Camille and her few close escapees scrape together whatever resources they have left, keeping an ear to the ground, listening for whispers of an alleged growing rebellion.

As they do, they encounter new alliances and a few surprising old ones.

This is a new book and a new dawn, giving our one-time beauty queens some much needed teeth to push back against a super corrupt system.

I love a good dystopian throw down and this one didn’t disappoint. There wasn’t as much focus on the original “anti-beauty industrial complex” agenda as there was in the first but it does creep in in different ways.

I loved the way this chapter of the story took a darker, more sinister turn and, as was true in the first, Dhonielle certainly knows how to tell a story.

Sunday Wrap-up!

June 9, 2019

It’s been a wild reading week, here, as I finally had a moment to sit and dive into my TBR stack. I feel like I haven’t truly gotten a good reading steak on in months.

I finally finished Queen of Air and Darkness and holy wow it was good. I can’t beeline I didn’t finish City of Bones when I first tried it (back the year it came out, before the whole series was a “thing”).

No sooner had I finished the end of the current story, Ghosts of the Shadow Market showed up so onward we go, Cassie! I’m just glad I’ll be all right and caught up by the time her newest trilogy comes out, next year.

I also caught up in my Netgalley list, with some super cute books. Where I End and You Begin quenched my relentless need for modernizations of Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, ho!) and a rockin’ rebel book, aptly titles Rebel Girls, that touched on some really heavy current topics (though the book itself was set around the time I was in high school…some things never change).

I also started and finished the first two books in The Magicians series which I’m reading alongside the show (though holy cow, they’re SO different) which has been a long time coming.

That’s about it. I have some good stuff in the bullpen, this week, but I’m not entire sure how much I’ll get done since I do start work, tomorrow. Ack! It’s here! Tell me what you’re reading so if I don’t get anything read, this week, I can live vicariously through you. 😎

When Summer Ends ~ Jessica Pennington

June 8, 2019

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Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Tor Teen

ISBN: 9781250187338

288 pages

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

{Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.}

High school is hard enough without throwing major wrenches in the plan. Just ask Olivia and Aiden, two rising seniors who have just had their worlds shaken up in epic proportions.

Aiden is the high school baseball team’s golden boy, the star pitcher. But he starts to wither under the pressure (and a rather serious health concern), leaving him off the field and behind the scenes at the local town shop. It’s a break from his peers and makes his family happy. He also gets to send tourists out on boats, filed with ice cream, all summer, and the local folks usually stay far away. At least they do most summers.

This summer proves to be a little different, though.

Enter: Olivia.

Olivia has had everything going for her. Her perfect boyfriend, her cool aunt, distance from her estranged mom, a potential writing gig at her local magazine. But a few threads of her dream summer start to fray and then pull completely apart as one disaster after another threatens to unravel everything she’d imagined for her break.

Olivia’s mom moves back into town to cover parent duties for her aunt (who just landed a dream job in Arizona) and Olivia finds herself escaping family drama to work at nine other than River Depot, where Aiden has set up for the summer.

Aiden and Olivia crash into each other’s lives (they’ve been kind of orbiting one another for a while but never really connected) and, well, you can probably guess the rest. Summer romance ensues but only after a lot of awkward teenage fear and the assumption that there will be drama carried over from school and the baseball team.

One of my favorite, background aspects of this book was Michigan itself. The entire story revolves around this touristy shop where Aiden and Olivia work, sitting right on the lake. The way the setting is painted, it almost seems like the lake is its own character, beautiful and serendipitously pulling out two cranky, down and out teens together.

This story is a super sweet summer romance, perfect for anyone in need of a pick-me up. It has just the right amount of sugary softness balanced by deeper, underlying conversations. I loved Jessica Pennington’s Love Songs & Other Lies, so this was an auto-pick for me and I was definitely not disappointed.

Rebel Girls ~ Elizabeth Keenan

June 7, 2019

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Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Inkyard Press
ISBN: 9781335185006
384 pages
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

{I was given a copy of this book by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my own.}

Holy crap. This book is SO good, y’all. It’s not out till September but you should definitely read it. It basically covers the Life/Choice conversations happening in the south in 1992 (in a fictional Baton Rouge Catholic high school) and it’s got Riot Grrrls and 90’s punk rock and Bikini Kill and third wave feminism critique and yeah…it’s also dead on accurate for my current feelings about the same damn topic over and over and over again.

The book is set about four years before I hit my freshman year of high school so all of the music and pop culture and political references churned up some pretty solid nostalgia. I mean, listen: I didn’t love high school a whole lot but I think almost everyone has a fondness for their teen years (even if you couldn’t pay them enough to ever go back). And my brother is four years older than I am so a lot of his music trickled down to me.

It did take me a minute to realize that it was, in fact, set in the 90’s and even longer to realize that this was a teen story with no cell phones. Call waiting and your parents being able to tell when you’re on the phone at night? What? Oh, those were the days. I’m kidding. I’m never going back.

The abortion/life/choice conversation was really well done. I have always and forever been ProChoice but I grew up in a VERY Catholic town in New England where the events of this book may have been reasonably possible. It was interesting to look at the entirety of the conversation with bits of empathy developing on both sides. The idea being that each person should be able to chose for themselves what is done with their body. I really liked that. I will never force someone to make a choice they personally disagree with but I will absolutely fight for each individual to be able to make that choice.

Anyway, so much good stuff going on in this book. Again it doesn’t come out till the fall but wait for it and find it and read it.

The Magicians ~ Lev Grossman

June 6, 2019

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Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780452296299

432 pages

Source: Amazon

I have a long and rolling history with the series.

I tried to read the first book when it initially came out. It was the year my son was born and the year I started book blogging. Before the SyFy series, before Bookstagram, before Neo-Fantasy and the modern surge of reading really took hold.

I had a lot going on at the time and too many other books to read and eventually gave up on it about halfway through. It wasn’t that it wasn’t good; it just wasn’t the time.

Likewise, a year ago, I tried to watch the SyFy adaptation with similar luck. It just wasn’t calling to me.

Again, not the right time.

And if you know anything about magic, these things are all about timing. So are books, for that matter.

A week ago, I was looking for something else to watch on tv over summer break and stumbled upon the SyFy series, again.

I was hooked immediately so I thought I’d give the books another shot.

Let me start by saying that they are almost completely different beings.

The show is sparkly and dark and moves quickly. It’s got a lot more grit than the books. That said, the books are somewhat rolling and gentle and quite a bit lighter.

That isn’t to say either one is better; they’re just so different that it’s hard to compare the two.

The books find Quintin Coldwater at the end of high school, depressed and alone, headed for college interviews with his two best friends, James and Julia as his only contacts to regular society. Quintin is this long suffering fan of an old book series about a Narnia-like universe called Fillory and he is basically the ultimate fan boy. His friends beg and plead with him to let his childhood nonsense go but he can’t quite cut the cord.

Seemingly by happenstance (though we know these things never are), Quintin stumbles upon the entrance to the Breakbills school of (you guessed it) magic, opening doors he only prayed existed.

What follows is Quintin’s descent into a world of spells and scandal, drugs and friendships that he seems almost to have wished into existence.

I’m going to stop right there because, as with most magical things, the story gets away from spoiler-free pretty quickly after that.

But I loved the first book and am halfway through the second so let that be a testament to how awesome the rest of the story is.

Again, if you’re scooting over from the show, it’s quite different but no less lovely. Just set your expectations and you’ll be good to go.