Bookish Throwback Thursdays: Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

It’s been a while since my last Bookish Throwback Thursday post, hasn’t it?As I mentioned in my May 2018 Wrap-Up, I’m spending the month of June in the States with my family (check out the hashtag #VisitaImperyalismo on Instagram for my photos – a lil Filipino leftist/socialist humor for you there, lol) so I haven’t really been able to blog as much as I’d like. Although I’m definitely getting a ton of reading done. Of the twenty books I set out to read at the beginning of June, I’ve already read fourteen. And I’ve still got two weeks left!

However, I’ve been thinking of taking a leaf out of Shealea’s book and putting myself on a book-reading ban until I can finish writing all the book reviews I’ve got lined up. According to my Goodreads (and my own personal Excel file) I’ve still got twenty-three books to review. And while I know  that’s small potatoes compared to some other bloggers (lookin’ at you, Shealea), I’m hoping to get rid of my backlog soon before it becomes totally overwhelming.

But before this becomes an update post, let me all fill you in on why V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series is one of the best things ever to grace my fantasy bookshelf!


Title: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Light, A Conjuring of Shadows

Genre: Fantasy, New Adult

My Rating:

RATING - Five Stars


A Darker Shade of Magic

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

A Gathering of Shadows

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.

A Conjuring of Light

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry.

Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

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[Book Review] The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang // the grimdark military fantasy you have been waiting for

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Title: The Poppy War

Author: R.F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark


RATING - Five Stars


When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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Mini-Reviews: 3 Teen Books I, A Non-Teen, Adored

I admit – I used to look down on teen books. I’ve always loved YA sci-fi and fantasy, but I used to think that contemporary teen books were beneath me. Of course, I’ve realized since then just how wrong I was (check out my review of From Twinkle, With Love and When Dimple Met Rishi, both contemporary teen romances), and I’m happy to say, I have a quite a few teen books on my TBR now! In fact, last month, I read three contemporary teen books, and I absolutely adored them!

Here’s what I thought of Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, and Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo!

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[Book Review] Second Wave Summer – Multiple Authors // romance, the beach, and a music festival

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Title: Second Wave Summer

Author: Six de los Reyes, Tara Frejas, and Jay E. Tria

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult


RATING - Four Stars


All roads lead back to beachside music festival Summer Crush for another weekend of high waves, rock & roll, and the promise of summer romance.

On any given day, Michael Brian doesn’t need to do much to hit the right notes with a girl, but there’s something about this day—and something about this girl—that’s got him out of tune.

Indie filmmaker Datu puts on his dusty event videographer hat for Summer Crush. But memories of a love he let slip away resurface from every corner of this surf town. Now what he thought would be an easy job just isn’t so easy anymore.

Corporate-highflyer-on-vacation Ringo has a question to which cookie bar boss woman Kris has the answer, if only they’d stop getting in each other’s way.

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June 2018 TBR

Hi everyone! Welcome to my monthly TBR. As I mentioned in my May Wrap-Up post, I’ll be spending the month of June in San Francisco and New York with my family. This is prime reading time, y’all. Fourteen hours on the plane from Manila to San Francisco, and then a six-hour flight from San Francisco to New York with a two-hour layover in Galveston later on in the week? If that doesn’t sound like a readathon, I don’t know what does.

Since I’m on vacation – and also since I read 18 books last month (stick around for a post on how I did it!) – I figure I can afford to try and gun for twenty books this month. What do you think? Doable, or am I out of my mind?

Anyway, here’s what I want to read or die trying this month!

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May 2018 Wrap-Up!

I recently hit 200 followers on this blog (as of posting, I have 217!), and I couldn’t be more grateful! Honestly, I still can’t believe there are people out there – like real live actual people that aren’t my mom – who are interested in me screaming about the books that I loved and ranting about the ones that I hated. Thank you all so much! And spread the word to your friends: I follow back. Hahaha!

Here’s what I was up to this May.

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