Welcome to the Devil’s Own || Music in the Night


I listen to a lot of music. When riding on the trains, when walking from place to place, or when cleaning. I really love listening to music when I’m writing and sometimes find myself inspired by certain songs. There’s a certain ambiance that music can give a scene or the setting and I love conveying that through my words.

Likewise, there’s music that reminds me of certain places or things, such as books. As part of the Devil’s Own I was tasked with creating a playlist of songs that reminded me of Lisa Maxwell’s The Last Magician, be it characters, setting, or scene. I had a ton of fun doing it and wanted to share it with you here!


1. “Shine on, Harvest Moon” sung by Ruth Etting.

I get Harte and Esta vibes from this song. It reminds me of how slow their friendship (possibly more!) built up. Plus it’s just a really great old song. I love the voice of the singer.

2. “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” sung by Cage the Elephant (though my SoundCloud link has a Foo Fighters cover).

I mean, this one basically reminds me of all of the Mageus. They’re doing things for a reason, but sometimes they’re quite wicked according to others. This song is about people who do what they can to survive and I thought it fit Dolph, Esta, Harte, and the other characters quite well.

3. “Dream a Little Dream of Me” sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

Ella and Louis are two of my favorite old singers and even though the era of the song is later than the setting of this book, this song gives me so many Last Magician vibes. I feel like it’s perfect for walking the streets of Manhattan in the early morning after a party and there’s a slight drizzle of rain falling down.

4. “La Vie en Rose” sung by Louis Armstrong.

I hope I’m not cheating by including two from the same person, but I love these songs so much. This one reminds so much of hanging out on rooftops with your beau and watching the sun rise. This one is for all the couples in The Last Magician.

5. “O Valencia” sung by The Decemberists.

This is my Dolph song. The story the song tells reminds me a lot of the things he went through. I’m going to keep it spoiler free here, but if you’ve The Last Magician you may know what I’m talking about.

6. ” 鎌倉(Kamakura)” performed by Moe Shibata.

This song is for Esta. It’s the song that I imagine playing when she walks through time.

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My playlist can be found here. I know SoundCloud isn’t accessible in every country, so I included YouTube links as well!

Let me know what you think of my playlist! Did you make a playlist? Put a link in the comments so I can check them out!

The Devil’s Thief  by Lisa Maxwell will be available on October 9th, 2018. Check out the website for more information. #devilsthief

 

 

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Welcome to the Devil’s Own || The Last Magician and The Devil’s Thief

A little over a year ago I read an amazing story full of magic, elements of old New York, and characters that captivated me. The Last Magician was (and still is!) a novel that I couldn’t stop reading until I had turned the final page (or in my case, tapped my kindle screen for the last time). I practically screamed with frustration at the realization that I would have to wait for months until the sequel.

Now a year has passed and I’m taking part in promoting this book’s sequel: The Devil’s Thief. I LOVE the title and the cover reveal!

The Devil's Thief (The Last Magician, #2)

I’m so excited that this novel is coming closer to my eager hands and eyes. I can’t wait to read it! 

To count down the days, I’m participating in a contest to promote this book. It means I get to talk about this book more, which is okay by me.

Here’s a snippet of my review, which can be found here if you’re curious what the first novel is about and why I couldn’t get enough of it!

The Lost Magician starts with a connection, though they don’t know it yet. Esta is a thief who uses her old magic to manipulate time, slowing it down and even jumping to the past and present. Dolph is the leader of a gang of Mageus who use their powers to protect those who cannot. And Harte is trying to blend in as a Sundren magician, hiding his Mageus powers in plain sight in a time when having old magic marked you as a target for the Order of Ortus Aurea in their climb to power. Their stories are connected by the Ars Arcana–a book that was thought to be lost. A book that is said to hold the secret to magic itself. A book that they all want.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Devil’s Thief, check out www.thelastmagician.com. If you’ve read the first book, take a quiz to see how much you remember of The Last Magican! Or find out if you’re Mageus and where you’d fit into Esta’s world.

[Now I Rise: The Conqueror’s Saga II] Kiersten White

This review contains some minor spoilers for the first novel in The Conqueror’s Saga. This review is also long because I loved this book so much.

One of my minor complaints about And I Darken (the first in the series) was that it got a little long purely because there’s a lot of unfamiliar names, places, and events that I had to first get through in order to get to the story. That was not the case with the second novel. Now I Rise benefits from the world building that was done in the first novel and further expands on locations that had smaller parts in the first novel. It balances character growth with action, creating a thrilling story that had me questioning characters’ motives. It is a a great continuation of a series that is set in a historical context that is real, yet also genderbends a historical figure. It made me more excited about a series that I already loved.

Lada and Radu burst back onto the scene shortly after where And I Darken left them. Radu remains in the Ottoman Empire, and Lada is trying to regain what she believes is rightfully hers: Wallachia. They’ve taken different paths that are still connected to each other, but Radu uses gilded words and Lada uses cold steel. Mehmed remains, but Now I Rise quickly becomes about Lada and Radu. Mehmed takes on a role in the background but occasionally comes back to interact with our main characters. And even when he’s not physically there, both Radu and Lada often think about him. Sometimes he still affects how they act, but gradually that changes.

Shortly into the novel Radu is sent to Constantinople to act as a spy for Mehmed. Although he has quite a bit of worries about going there, he follows Mehmed’s orders because he loves him. In the first novel, Radu learns how to use his skills to further Mehmed and through close proximity, himself. He is very charismatic, and it was interesting to read how he grew into it in And I Darken. This novel finds Radu questioning much of what he believes and who he believes in. Radu is semi-stranded in Constantinople for months. At first, he eagerly awaits a war that he knows is coming, playing his role as defector to the Christians as he secretly plots to bring Constantinople down. The longer he stays in Constantinople, however,  the more he questions the motives of Mehmed and what he’s doing.

He had imagined Constantinople, had wanted it for Mehmed. It had been simple and straightforward. But now he knew the true cost of things, the murky horrors of the distance between wanting something and getting it.*

Radu is becoming a part of Constantinople and being accepted by people there, but he knows that he ultimately will betray them. It begins to wear on him. Reading this expanded his character in a new direction that was so raw I was heartbroken for him. While this series does tend to focus more on Lada as the female Vlad, I feel that Radu has the greater emotional response in Now I Rise.

Radu had seen what it took to be great, and he never again wanted to be part of something bigger than himself.*

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[Crown of Midnight: Throne of Glass II] Sarah J. Maas

Just in case there are people who haven’t read Throne of Glass reading this review (I was one of you not long ago), this review has potential spoilers for Throne of Glass. There’s also a very, very light (and not specific) spoiler for Crown of Midnight, but since it’s already been mentioned in the official summary of the book, I think it’s okay to mention it in my review. Just a warning!

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I really hate when the summary of the book gives away too much the way it does for Crown of Midnight. There are some things I wish had been kept from the reader because I wouldn’t have been aware of it coming up and the impact would have been greater. Anyway. Review time.

Crown of Midnight is the second novel in the Throne of Glass series. Now the King’s Champion and assassin, Celaena is counting down the days to her true freedom–when she can leave Adarlan and disappear into the forests and mountains far away. So for now she bides her time, killing at the King’s whim and trying not to lose herself in the process. Celaena, however, has a secret–one that she hides from the King and hides from her friends. And when there are secrets, it’s only a matter of time before they come out. And she’s not the only one keeping them.

I was actually really impressed with how there was a sharp increase in talent in the writing of this one compared to Throne of Glass. Had that not happened, I would not have continued the series. So really good job, Sarah J. Maas, at getting someone who didn’t like your first book into liking and wanting to continue the rest of your series due to the second. The style became less telling and I was more invested in the characters as things were revealed about them slowly. It helped too, that the focus wasn’t on a competition (but the true focus was actually on the shoddy love triangle and obsessive vanity of Celaena) the way it was in Throne of Glass. The writing style was so much better, which translated to the plot, pacing, characterization, and setting being well-thought out and engaging. I almost couldn’t believe that this was the same series, it was such a change. A good change.

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[Urban Dragon] J.W. Troemner

Urban Dragon is J.W. Troemner’s first three novellas bound into one volume. It follows Rosa and Arkay, two women who are trying to survive the dangers of living on the street. Not freezing during the upcoming winter is heavy on Rosa’s mind, but when an attack on them turns into them robbing the would be attacker, Rosa and Arkay are drawn into something bigger and more dangerous than they realize. Struggling to maintain their innocence, jail is the least of their problems. Rosa and Arkay have to use their wits and their street smarts to stay one step ahead of those who would do them harm. And they thought humans were a problem.

The writing of Urban Dragon was entertaining and flowed really well. I thought that each individual story had a clear beginning, middle, and end, and there were moments in each novella that connected them to the others. It had a readability that allowed me to finish it in one sitting. I suspect that when the next series of novellas are published, it will be easy to do the same. I do think that J.W. Troemner has a talent at keeping the reader entertained and flipping through pages. The author cements this story in the contemporary age by having pop culture references sprinkled throughout; most of them were a little nerdy or book related, so I really loved that. I was genuinely amused by some of the interactions and quips that Rosa and Arkay threw around because they didn’t feel forced.

I really loved Rosa and Arkay’s relationship. It stemmed from being necessary to survive the streets and not get harmed, and blossomed into an actual friendship with shared experiences. I liked that it didn’t really delve into something romantic, even though it possibly had been romantic in the past. It was nice reading a series where the two main characters aren’t in love with each other. I liked that they both remained close and had their own outside relationships.

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[The Dream Thieves: The Raven Cycle II] Maggie Stiefvater

So I’ll be honest. I read the rest of the series after The Raven Boys in about a week. It’s that good and addictive.

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The Dream Thieves picks up where The Raven Boys left off, with a focus on Ronan. After revealing that he can take things out of his dreams in the last book, the others are a little in awe of Ronan’s abilities. Ronan begins to take more fantastic things out of his dreams, things that don’t exist in the real world until he wills it. When things from his nightmares start showing up, he realizes that he needs to gain control over his abilities before something worse moves from his nightmares to reality. As Gansey and the others continue to use the ley lines to search for Glendower, others are searching for dream things, leading them to Henrietta and the boys. The search for Glendower has never been more dangerous.

Like the first book, the narration is divided between the raven boys, Blue, and a few others. Even so, this book is very much about Ronan. I really enjoyed that there was a focus on his secrets and how he came to terms with them by the end of The Dream Thieves. Ronan was my least favorite of the characters after reading the first book, but by the end of this one I found that I really liked him. He’s possibly even my favorite character now. Like all of Stiefvater’s characters, he was slowly and realistically developed. She has an incredible talent at showing who her characters are, including their motivations and desires–even the ones they hide from themselves. And the ones they hide from themselves are the more interesting ones. They’ll make for some good interactions when they finally come out.

What’s interesting about the first two books of The Raven Cycle is that there’s romance, but it is absolutely not the focus. I thought there’d be more in this one since it’s a second book, but not so. It is an ultimate slow-burn romance. Stiefvater gives her characters and readers a little taste, but not enough to distract from the quest. Again, there’s more of a focus on friendship and family relationships. I really enjoy this part of Stiefvater’s character writing. These are the relationships that are around you before romance comes into the picture. I love that we can really see how the friendship between Blue and the raven boys is developing in an in-depth way.

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[Paperglass and Monarch: War of Princes II and III // A double review]] A.R. Ivanovich

 

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At the close of Haven, Katelyn has resigned herself to her secret. Although she shared it with her closest friends,  if it gets out that she visited the outside world, repercussions will not only affect her. Life, however, seems a little dull since she’s been back, and Katelyn is trying to decide what to do with her future when the Pull is pulling her toward the outside world and the boy she left behind. Things change when a half crazed member of their community destroys the radio tower, and everything that Katelyn thought she had escaped from may be coming right to the doorstep of Haven and her loved ones. Her mission takes her back to the outside world, and only she knows how bad it would be if she doesn’t find the lost explorers before they tell the Prince how to get to Haven.

Paperglass thrusts us deeper into the outside world. I was very happy to read more about how their military and ability system worked. We got to see a little more depth to why the Margraves and Dragoons are so dreadful, instead of being told. The world started to get fleshed out the further they traveled from the wall, so I was able to see how Katelyn reacted to life among the outsiders, which was something I had wished happened in Haven.  Again, the pacing in Paperglass is a bit faster than I wanted it to be. It worked a little better this time around because there were multiple conflicts in the novel, rather than only being a novel about returning to Haven and to safety.

A complaint I do have is that there aren’t many named side characters. Paperglass, like Haven, is driven by the core main characters, with side characters making a brief appearance to say something and then sit on the sidelines until they were necessary again or dying on the page. As a consequence, they felt very much like tools to drive the plot forward, rather than actual characters. They could have been a little more vibrant. Another consequence of that is that Paperglass becomes a romance novel with fantasy thrown in. The focus seemed a bit heavier on Rune and Katelyn’s relationship this time around, and less on the conflict and mission that the characters are on.

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