A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwa


Ok, so this review has been a LONG time coming for me.  I finished this a while back, and have read a few other books since but I have not had the time to write any of my reviews, so without further ado….

This book was so captivating that I simply COULD NOT put it down, and after finishing it, it moved up in to my top 10, quite possibly top 5 favorite books.  V.E. Schwab has a way with weaving magic through words.  I really enjoyed the idea of layering the world into parallels of the same place.  Schwab writes about 4 different Londons; Grey London which has no magic, White London which has a dark chaotic magic about it, Red London which is powerful and has magic in balance, and Black London which has been consumed by magic. Only the Antari, a powerful type of magician, can travel between these Londons, though there are only 2 Antari left in the world at this time.  As you can see, the idea is intricate and above all fascinating.

To keep in fashion of not giving away spoilers in my reviews, I will not say much more other than the fact that EVERYONE needs to read this book.  I immediately purchased book 2, A Gathering of Shadows, which I have also read.  I now am in dire need of the final book to come out, but have read that it is not being released until February.  So do yourself a favor and pick up a Darker Shade of Magic today and thank me later.

Over the next few days I will be working on catching up on all the books I have read through the past couple of months as well as posting my Lit Cube and Stars Hollow unboxing.  I hope everyone had an AMAZING 4th of July!!!

Lit-Cube Unboxing: Limited Edition Gilmore Girls Box


Ok, so I have been a HUGE Gilmore Girl’s fan since Season 1, Episode 1.  I have watched the show from beginning to end more than once, and have even had my husband watch it all the way through making him a fan of the show as well.  That being said, when Lit-Cube announced that they were doing a limited edition Gilmore Girls box, I COULD NOT WAIT!!! Lit-Cube’s regular monthly subscription boxes never disappoint, so I knew that they would do this box justice, so I HAD to have one!  For those of you that do no know what Lit-Cube is, it’s a monthly subscription box that gets delivered straight to you and it’s like a little box of Christmas for book lovers ever month!  Each box is filled with a readable, a wearable, and an eatable, and then includes a few other things to fit the monthly theme.  Each month’s theme since I’ve joined has been amazing (time travel, Wonderland, the year of the dragon, Roaring 20’s, etc) and the box is always well over what you pay for it ($35).  For anyone interest, I will put the link to their website below.

Ok, so lets talk about this amazing box and it’s amazing contents!  I loved everything in this box, though I can’t actually attest for the taste of the Go Cubes yet as I haven’t eaten them, but here’s a breakdown of the contents:

  • Readable: Belzhar by: Meg Wolitzer (valued at $17.99)  The book sounds really interesting.  I wasn’t exactly sure how this book tied into the Gilmore Girls theme, but it was actually explained on the packing card that the chose the book because of Rory’s love for Sylvia Plath.  Apparently in Belzhar, the students take a class that focuses entirely on the works of Sylvia Plath.
  • Wearable: Exclusive Gilmore Girls T-Shirt (valued at $19.99)  The shirt reads Gilmore girls.  It’s a Lifestyle, It’s a religion.  I love the shirt.  It’s adorable.
  • Snackable: Go Cubes (valued at $2.95) These appear to be gummy cubes and stated that 2 cubes are the equivalent to 1 cup of coffee (100 MG of caffeine).  I received a pack of 4 in my box, though I’m not sure what flavor I got.  They come in plain coffee, mocha, and latte.
  • Extras:
    • Exclusive Luke’s Diner Mug (valued at $14.95)  Luke and his diner play such a central role in Gilmore girls, so the box would be incomplete without something Luke!
    • Exclusive Dragonfly Inn Towel Set (valued at $19.99)  These are too cute.  I’m afraid to put them in my kitchen for fear of the hubby using them and ruining them.  lol.
    • Exclusive Stars Hollow Pin Set (valued at $9.99) This set offers a little bit of everything for any true Gilmore Girl Fan!!!
    • Exclusive Rory Pro/Con Notepad (valued at $5.99) Ok, pro/con lists are the easiest way to narrow down your answer to Yes or No.  It doesn’t matter what the question/topic is.  I’ve been using this method my whole life!  Now I have an adorable notepad to write it on.
    • Exclusive No Cellphones! 5X7 Art Print (valued at $6.95)  It wouldn’t be a Gilmore Girls box without Luke’s No Cellphones! sign!

So as you can see, this box was definitely WELL worth the $35 I paid for it, as it quickly added up to being worth over $98 of goodies inside!!! Not every box is worth close to $100, but I can definitely say that every box I’ve gotten was $50+ in contents.  Lit-Cube is honestly the best subscription box I’ve gotten, and their customer service is amazing.  They started as a Kickstart just over a year ago, and they are amazing at what they do.  If you are interested, I’ll include the link just below this paragraph.  If you have questions, feel free to ask me and I will answer them as best I can, or check out their FAQ section on their website.  You can order single boxes, or subscribe to a monthly subscription.  They have a regular Book Box as well as now a monthly Gilmore Girls box, due to the popularity of this limited edition box, though be aware that the Gilmore Girls box will not always include a book.  Hope everyone is having a fabulous Monday!

Again, if you are interested in Lit-Cube you can visit their site HERE.

Shadow and Bone

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Shadow and Bone was sooooooo GOOD!  I’m actually getting ready to start book 2, Siege and Storm!  I loved the idea of the Grisha and the way their magic works.  I also really loved the main character Alina and her childhood friend Mal.  The storyline is also set in Russia, which I thought was pretty cool as well, as I haven’t read anything set in Russia.  There is a great back story to Alina and Mal, as well as the Darkling, and there is also an awesome plot line to what the Grisha are and how Alina finds herself in their world.

I was slightly hesitant to start the book at first, as there were a lot of mixed reviews, but I’m glad that I just jumped in and did it.  It was one of those books that was just a page turner that kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me reading late into the night.  I read it in just a few short sittings, and couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Alina and Mal.  I actually went out the next day and bought book 2, that I’m start tonight! Who’s read this book, or the series itself?  What were your thoughts?

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Ok….Can we just take a second to talk about how adorable this book is???  Jenny Han is brilliant.  I’m not usually one to read sappy love type stories, but this one was one that I couldn’t put down!  I can honestly say that, for a love story, I loved this story.  The Song sisters were easy to fall in love with, as were Peter and Josh.  This book really has it all!  You have a single dad that is honestly trying his best, 3 sisters that show us what it means to put your family first, and 2 guys that are caught in the whirlwind that is Laura Jean!

A bonus to this book, cookie recipes!!!  When I got to the end of the book, there were several of Laura Jean’s cookie recipes listed in the back!  I have yet to try them, but I definitely plan to.  It ties into the book in that the sisters have several traditions, one of them being baking Christmas cookies together every year!  I definitely recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.  I plan to read the second one (I’ve already purchased it and added it to my ever growing pile) as well.  If you’ve read it, I’d love to know what your thoughts were!  =)

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by: Stephen King

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Ok, so I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve just been SUPER busy.  Most of you know that I am obsessed with Stephen King books, and the Dark Tower Series is very QUICKLY crawling to the TOP of my favorite series list.  I flew through The Gunslinger, which is the first book in the series, and I loved it.  This book was even better, and I didn’t think that possible.  With this series, Stephen King pulls away from the typical horror genre that he’s known for, though he has written outside of the genre often (The Green Mile, Delores Clairborne, Eyes of the Dragon, 11/22/63, etc.), and shows his readers a ski-fi/fantasy side that is captivating.  The characters are so well developed that you feel like you know them, or at least want to, and the story line is definitely one that draws you in and makes you want to know more.  I also have to add that I had the illustrated copy of this, and the illustrations are amazing!

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I have to say that I absolutely LOVE Roland as the main character of this series.  He’s harsh, but for good reasons, he’s righteous, and cruel, but he’s also kind and caring.  He’s everything you do and don’t want in a mentor, and I think that’s what makes him perfect! His quest to find the Dark Tower is one that keeps the audience engaged, and the continuance of the quest doesn’t disappoint in book 2.  Though the series is not within the horror realm, I do want to include that the creatures known as “lobstrosities” are definitely nightmare fuel!  Those things definitely gave me the creeps any and every time they are mentioned in the book.  I couldn’t imagine running into one of those and their questions.  I read this book literally every chance I got, usually with a cup of coffee close by in the late afternoon! =)

So in Book 2, Roland is alone on a beach continuing his quest, when he comes across a door.  The door propels him into the mind of another person in another time/dimension, and Roland soon becomes aware that he will need the people he comes across to complete his quest to the Dark Tower.  I don’t want to say too much more, because I HATE when things are ruined for me and would not want to ruin the book for those that have not read it.  All I can say is that if you haven’t read it, give the series a chance.  I couldn’t put this book down because it was just that good!   Try it out, I promise that it won’t disappoint! =)

If you’ve already read this book, or series even, I’d love to know what you think/thought.  Though I’m only going into book 3, it’s easily in my top 5 series, and pretty high on my Stephen King list.

April Lit-Cube Unboxing

Ok… So I waited extra long to get this box thanks to this move.  It didn’t get to me in time and had to be forwarded back to the states and go back through customs before it could be delivered to me.  I was super sad and anxiously waiting for it. BUT IT GOT HERE TODAY and I did a happy dance all the way to the post office to pick it up!!!  I’ve done a few of these Lit-Cube unboxing, but for those of you that have no clue what Lit-Cube is, it’s a monthly bookish subscription box that gets delivered right to your door.  It’s $34.95 and it’s always packed full of amazingness that well exceeds the cost of the box!  The items are had selected by the owner and most of them are exclusive to Lit-Cube subscribers only.  I’ll leave the link and a coupon at the end of this post!  Here’s what was in this amazing Anniversary of the Dragon box:

  1.  Readable: Slayers, by C.J. Hill (Valued at $9.99).  Slayers was given in a paperback copy.  It is a YA urban fantasy novel with a very intriguing cover.  I’m actually pretty excited to read it (at some point).
  2. Snackable: Fatman’s Beef Jerky,  Jerky Original. (Valued at $2.99).  This was by far THE BEST jerky I have EVER tasted.  It tasted real.  It didn’t take like it was loaded with a bunch of crap.  It just tasted like amazing Jerky.  The hubby, who is SUPER picky when it comes to jerky, loved it and has already looked up the brand and pricing.  **Bonus, there was also a coupon for your first purchase on Jerky!
  3. Wearable: Faux Leather Dragon Bracelet (Valued at $8.95).  This is possibly my favorite item in this box.  This bracelet is SUPER cute and I put it on immediately.
  4. EXCLUSIVE: Stacks the Book Drunk Dragon Plush. (Valued at $11.99)  Stacks is Lit-Cube’s mascot and this plush is SUPER adorable.  He was the first thing I saw when opening the box and he’s super cute.
  5. Color this Journal (Valued at $9.99).  This is super cute.  It’s a regular notebook, with lined notebook pages, but ever few pages has an adorable little page to color.
  6. Exclusive Lit-Cube pack of colored pencils with a built in sharpener.  (Valued at $6.99).  This was a perfect addition to go along with the Color this Journal.

So total for all the items included in the anniversary box is over $50, once again surpassing the $35 you pay for the box.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this box, seeing as it was dragon themed, but I feel that it was don very well and I love each of the items included in April’s box.  Lit-Cube never ceases to amaze me!


Click HERE to check out Lit-Cube and sign up for a monthly subscription, or purchase a 1 time box to enjoy these amazing items!  Use coupon code: speakeasy10 to get 10% off of a new subscription of your own!!! =)

May #Litcube: Through the Looking Glass

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O.M.G.  Can we just talk about this amazingly themed Lit-Cube box?  First of all… I love ALL things Alice in Wonderland.  One of my favorite trilogies that I’ve ever read is Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars, which puts a dark spin on this already wonderful story. I love EVERYTHING that came in this box, from the t-shirt to the handwritten note from the Author of Alice Takes Back Wonderland (David. D. Hammons).  Lit-Cube never fails and always amazes!  For those that haven’t seen my previous #litcube #unboxing and do not know what Lit-Cube is, it is a monthly subscription box that is always amazingly put together based on a monthly theme.  There is always a readable, a wearable, a stackable, and a few other goodies included in the box.  No 2 boxes are the same, and much of what is included is exclusive to Lit-Cube subscribers only. The Subscription is $34.95 per month within the US, but is available for international subscriptions (I just don’t know the pricing, but I will put the link at the bottom of this post for anyone interested along with a coupon code).  You can get a 1 time box, a monthly subscription, a Gilmore Girls themed box, and occasionally a Limited Edition box.

Here’s what came in May’s Through the Looking Glass box:


Alice Takes Back Wonderland by: David D. Hammons (Valued at $18.99), this is also a Lit-Cube exclusive paperback with bonus content and a letter from the Author.


Exclusive Wonderland-Themed Tee (Valued at $19.95).


Wonderland-Themed Cookie by: Sweets by Steph! (Valued at $2.50).

Other Goodies:

Custom Alice in Wonderland Makeup Bag (Valued at $12.99). The item is made exclusively for Lit-Cube subscribers and can be used for a variety of things.  I will probably be using it for my makeup that I keep in my purse. =)

Exclusive Through the Looking Glass Pocket Mirror! (Valued at $8.99).  This is soo super cute.

2 Wonderland 5×7 Art Prints by Star in My Pocket (Valued at $12.99) Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/StarinMyPocket  These are adorable.  There is an Alice print and a Mad Hatter print.  I will definitely be putting these up in my library/office.

Alice in Wonderland Bookmark by Star in My Pocket (Valued at $3.25) Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/StarinMyPocket  Also SUPER cute, and a bookworm can NEVER have enough bookmarks.

So the total for each of the items is over $79, and I only paid $34.95 for my box.  As you can see, Lit-Cube definitely makes this subscription worth your while.  It is by far one of the best subscription boxes I’ve ever subscribed to, and the people that work behind the scenes to bring it to you are fabulous.  If this seems like something that interest you, please check it out.  They have a lot of amazingness to offer!  June’s subscription box is a Roaring 20’s Mystery box and it was announced that the book will NOT be a YA read.  Check it out, try a month and see if it’s for you, and enjoy tons of amazing items hand selected to fit this amazing theme!!!  Here’s some spoilers for Lit-Cube’s FB page for June:

Join Lit-Cube and be part of this awesome book lover’s experience!!!  Use coupon code speakeasy10 and get 10% off your subscription!!! =)


Just an Update

So I’ve been MIA and just wanted to give you an update on why!  We’ve been in-between moving from Germany to Illinois.  We left Germany on April 14th and Flew into Baltimore where we drove into Dover, Delaware.  We spent a couple of awesome days with friends in Delaware before starting our drive all the way to IL.  We loaded our van with suitcases, 2 dogs, a cat, and the 2 of us for a 15 hour drive (turned 18 with all the potty breaks for the animals).  It wasn’t so bad.

Once we arrived to IL, we checked into our TLF “apartment,” which actually ended up being a 4 bedroom house that had everything we needed (we are still here for a couple of days).  We’ve spent the past couple of weeks house hunting, getting familiar with the area, eating all the food we’ve missed over the last 7 years, and shopping at Barnes and Nobles, Target, and the Mall simply because we’ve also missed them!  We’ve joined every membership/loyalty program available at our favorite places, become gold members with Starbucks, and even found a Weingarten that we really liked.  On a not terrible, but not so fun note, we also got stuck inside of Ulta during a torrential downpour where the sky turned green and poured buckets of water!


The best part of everything is that after what felt like hours of searching for houses that didn’t want to rent to us because own a rottweiler, we FINALLY found a house where the owner is awesome and also a dog lover.  He doesn’t care that one of my dogs is a rottweiller, that I own 2 dogs and a cat, or give me strange looks based on the color of my hair (I’m assuming).  We get to move in on Sunday and I’m super excited, though I’m not excited to have to wait until the 11th for our furniture and household goods to be delivered, but such is life.  Now, fingers crossed that my car arrives within the next week or 2.



Review for Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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So I recently finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell and I have to say that I’m officially a fan!  I could not put this book down!  Landline was my first RR book and I’ve since purchased several of RR’s books to add to my TBR list that I can’t wait to read.  This book was funny, heart wrenching, enlightening, magical, and so much more.  Georgie was such a relatable character in that she wasn’t perfect.  She was a hot mess and she knew it.  She couldn’t function in life without Neal, who really did complete her.  I also LOVED Georgie and Neal’s relationship in the way that it was perfectly imperfect.  To top it all off, the magical phone just really made this story!

I liked that this book gave a different view on the average household.  Georgie was a full time working mom, while Neal was a full time stay at home dad.  Though Georgie wanted children, she wasn’t nurturing or good at doing motherly things.  She was good for hugs and laughs and play time, while Neal cooked, cleaned, taught, and nurtured them.  At one point she tells someone that when Neal isn’t home and the kids are hungry, she gives them Yogurt to tie them over until Neal is home to cook for them.  Though all of this seems to make Georgie and Neal’s relationship perfect, it’s far from.  Neal, Alice, and Noomie always take a backseat to Georgie’s best friend Seth and their Career as comedy writers for television and Neal has reached his breaking point, which is where the story really begins!

If you enjoy Adult Contemporary, you definitely need to check out Rainbow Rowell’s Landline.  Contemporary is not my typical go to read, but this one rates in my top 10 reads for sure.  The characters are all relatable, the story is adorable, and it’s such a great read!!! If you’ve already read it, I would love to know what you thought about it!

The Reader Problems Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Jackie with fallinlovewiththesoundofwords for the Reader Problems Book Tag.  Thanks for the tag!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

1.) You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Typically… I pick somewhere around 5 books around the beginning of each month that stands as my TBR for that given month.  I try my VERY hardest to stick to that…but most of the time I stray.  Hahahahaha


2.) You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

99% of the time  I will finish the book.  I don’t know why I insist on torturing myself…but I just can’t quit a book.  I have only ever quit reading 2 or 3 books EVER.



3.) The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how? 

I always try.  It doesn’t always mean that I will make it, but I alway try.  The how is simply reading ALL. THE. TIME.  If I’m super far behind, I will keep my book on me at all times so that I can read any time that I have free time.



4.) The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

It actually doesn’t bother me at all.  The only time that i have purchased another full set is with Harry Potter.  I have 4 British Hardback covers of the Harry Potter books (missing books 1-3), so I bought a US boxed set to have a full complete set of them . Other series I have are pretty mixed as far as different covers, or hard and paperback books.


5.) Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?


Usually the Hubby.  He will let me vent about my dislike/hatred over an overhyped or much loved book.


6.) You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I’m not a crier.  I’ve only had 1 book that has made me cry (The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein) and I was at home when I was reading it.


7.) A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?! (oh my..calm down)


It depends on how much free time I have at the time or how into the series I am.  If it’s a series that I love, I’ll just re-read the previous books.  If I’m pressed for time, with little to spare for reading, than I will try and find a good review/synopsis for the book online before reading the next one.


 8.) Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?


My go to is humor when I’m in a reading slump.  I find a short, funny read that helps kickstart my reading again.  A lot of times, Christopher Moore books are a good cure for this type of slump for me.


9.) There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?



Does this fully answer that question?  I buy at a MINIMUM, 1 book a week!  And that is honestly the MINIMUM!


10.) After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

It honestly just depends on how excited for that particular book I am, and sometimes that doesn’t even factor in.  Some books get read immediately, while others will sit on my shelves FOREVER before they are picked up and read.

I want to say a big THANK YOU again to Jackie for tagging me! I’m not going to physically tag anyone since I JUST did a tag post this morning, but if you want to complete the tag PLEASE do and tag me in your post so that I know!