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.

*   *   *

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

 

 

Advertisements

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.

[This Savage Song: Monsters of Verity I] Victoria Schwab

I’m going to be honest: I’m glad I read this author’s adult fiction works before I read her young adult fiction. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy This Savage Song, but it was considerably tamer than I expected, especially coming off of the Shades of Magic series. I expected to be more captivated by the characters and world than I ultimately was, which is okay. It just means that I enjoy V.E. Schwab’s grittier and darker worlds, despite this one also having those qualities.

This Savage Song is a story of a divided city and the heirs that live inside of it. The divided city is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, but with a lot more monsters and no distracting qualities of romance. I LOVED that there was no romance in this novel. Too often the plot of dystopians get overtaken by the romantic ramblings of teenagers in love, but not so in this book. Kate and August were their own characters with their own agendas. When they were pushed together, they had to deal with the tension of technically being each others’ enemy on top of running for their lives. That made the book far more interesting than a romantic-dystopian novel.

It’s rare, I think, to read a dystopian novel that doesn’t have a romantic sub (or main) plot. That’s why This Savage Song was such a refreshing read. The plot didn’t focus on it, which allowed the world to be fleshed out more and the focus to be on everything happening instead of the two characters catching feelings. Their friendship grew tentatively and I loved seeing how their feelings about each other changed into an understanding that only they could create. There needs to be more great friendships in young adult literature that doesn’t become a relationship. I love reading those stories too, but there doesn’t always need to be a romance. I love that Schwab didn’t go the route that now seems the norm in young adult literature.

While I loved that, I didn’t find myself connecting to the characters as much as I expected. Kate wasn’t very relatable and I never really got why she wanted to return to the city, other than her desire to be near her father. He wasn’t someone that was there for her, so that being her main drive was odd to me. She presents herself as a badass, but really she has the hard exterior created to hide her softer feelings inside. I couldn’t really figure out what her goals were exactly, which made her feel very one dimensional. I’m hoping I’ll like her personality more in the next book, because she had grown on my slightly by the end of This Savage Song.

August  is my favorite. Unlike Kate, I definitely related to his feelings of being lost and not knowing himself. He was a far more sympathetic character; the monster who doesn’t want to be a monster. I love reading takes on characters like this. August’s character arc is what made the book so interesting for me to read. I wanted to see what would happen to him more than I cared about Kate or the problems within the city. I am looking forward to reading where he goes in the next novel.

The world in This Savage Song is very well-written, as I expected of a Schwab book. It did take me a few chapters to get into the book, but once I did I found myself reading during any spare downtime I had. Schwab as a way of easing you into the world that doesn’t feel like it’s too heavy. The world is built through small moments as the characters go about the day, teasing you just enough to make you curious and hopeful that it’ll be explained later down the line. I loved her take on violence breeding literal monsters and the explanation for them. It seems like it could be just a step away. Schwab has a real world-building talent that I am both inspired by and jealous of. I can trust that she’s going to have an amazing world created in whatever book I pick up next.

I will be continuing this duology, and I definitely recommend it for readers who have enjoyed V.E. / Victoria Schwab books before. If you enjoy dystopians but not the romance that’s often included, I think you’ll enjoy this book. There’s a reason that readers keep coming back to Schwab books. They’re full of great characters that you both like and loathe, set in a world that is carefully created and feels like it could be just around the corner even with it’s fantastical elements.

3.5 stars.

[Furyborn] Claire Legrand

The premise of Furyborn is the legend of two queens: one of light and one of blood. Legrand takes the legend of these two queens and sets them miles––and years––apart. As the story spans across centuries, the legend of the two queens becomes just that––a legend. But when a girl who can’t be injured comes along, people begin to believe that perhaps it’s not just a legend.

To start off, I think that the premise for this book is amazing. I love the idea of things that don’t seem connected at first, especially when they involve the falls of kingdoms and of powerful women who don’t downplay their talents. It’s something that I love seeing in books, because I feel like there’s a ton of female characters who write off their talents. This was not the case for Rielle and Eliana. They both know that they’re talented––one with the elements and one with knives––and they’re both really unapologetic about it. There need to be more women like this in fiction. Having the book focused on the two of them made it really enjoyable, and I liked how both of their perspectives were super different. Their lives were so different too and seeing that contrast showed more of the world than if they’d both come from the same background.

The worldbuilding in this novel was great! The world was easily my favorite part about this novel. It was really interesting to see how Legrand built up the world by subtly putting in information as Rielle was going through the elemental trials. It was just enough that I really wanted to know more––or perhaps I could read some prequels about the Saints?? please and thank you––without taking away from the rest of the story. This novel kind of has two different settings and worlds, too; even though both Rielle and Eliana technically exist in the same world, they exist a thousand years apart. That means that Rielle’s reality, the one that we’re shown with angels and magic, is not Eliana’s reality. In fact, so many years have passed that people don’t really believe that magic ever existed. They think that they’re just stories. I loved that we could see these two settings side by side because of the dual perspective. I also really appreciated that Legrand showed negatives and positives to both times and didn’t make one better than the other.

Continue reading

Ten of my favorite character names

I had a whole post planned around things I like in names and name creation but then life happened and I only had four things written by the deadline. It will come in the future! Instead, I wanted to focus on some of my absolute favorite names (and oftentimes some of my favorite books) in today’s post.

Names are a big part of writing and reading for me. I spend so much time finding the perfect name when I’m in the middle of writing. I usually set a chunk of separate time aside because I can get stuck looking at names for hours. Because of my own naming tendencies,  I love when authors pick names that fit their characters well. Here are some that have stuck in my mind!

*     *     *

Names in Books

The Raven Cycle. I just love his name. It fits his personality perfectly. I’m beyond excited that he’s getting his own series soon!

Charmed. I read the companion novels a long time ago but I loved the show more. I also really love the name Piper.

The Mortal Instruments. Despite the problems I have with this franchise, I do really love these names.

The Hunger Games. I love this name so much I’m using it as one of my character names!

Continue reading

Ten books I disliked* but still appreciated something about them

*Sometimes dislike is too strong of a word. So a lot of these are disappointments, which––for anyone who’s ever disappointed someone before––is far worse than if they just dislike you.

I’m going to try my best to not be super negative in this post because I tend to go all angry English major when I read books that disappoint me in some way. As a result, I tend to avoid books that I know I’ll dislike because I don’t want to spend time on something that makes me unhappy. But sometimes, a book comes up to you with a beautiful premise and a visually engaging cover, promising that it will be the next thing you’ll love, only to disappoint you in the end.

I’m splitting my post up between dislikes––or changed opinion––and disappointments. I think that better reflects my readings of these books.

*     *     *

Disappointments

I’m finishing up my review on this upcoming novel this week, but if I had to sum it up in one sentence, it would be about the unfulfilled promise of its premise. I wanted to love this one––and there’s two more in the series so maybe things will be better in the next ones––but ultimately it just was looooonngggg without much going on. There’s a lot of potential, though, so I’ll be continuing it!

The one Scott Westerfeld book that has disappointed me. Somehow the fact that he wrote this with two other authors makes it worse. Someone should have had the writing power to make this interesting.

I fully expected to like this one when I read it. I’d liked her sister’s Jane Eyre and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. But Wuthering Heights wasn’t what I was expecting and that made this a difficult one to get through. I’d like to think that if I gave it another chance I may find enjoyment in it, but I also don’t know if I can get over Heathcliff’s aggression. I don’t really see how this is a great love story.

The disappointment I felt for this one tasted especially bitter. Seraphina was such a unique and fascinating story, but the sequel did not bring back everything that I loved about the first novel. I’m really interested in checking out Tess of the Road, as it’s set in the same world.

Continue reading

[Tyler Johnson Was Here] Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here is the second book I’ve read this year that throws light on the experiences of members of the black community in the United States. It focuses on twins Marvin and Tyler Johnson, who are slowly drifting apart as they prepare for college. Marvin wants to be close to his brother again, but there are some things that Tyler isn’t telling him. In an attempt to keep an eye on his brother, he follows him to a party where there’s a shooting. When Tyler doesn’t come home, it’s up to Marvin to cover for his brother. As the hours pile up, Marvin finally reveals the thing that scares him the most: he doesn’t know where Tyler is. When his brother is found dead and a video showing his death surfaces, Tyler is suddenly a hashtag trending on the internet. In his search for justice, Marvin wants to show the world that Tyler was so much more.

This is another hard book to review. I think that the book was successful in telling a story that shows what it means to be black in the United States (and elsewhere in the world, but this is specifically set in the U.S.) and how Marvin Johnson’s whole life––his whole survival––is based around the idea that he has to act a certain way in order to not be killed. This is something that I’ve never had to experience. I have a lot of privilege that allows me to move through life without thinking about daily survival. While I had other lessons on “how to behave,” I didn’t have the lessons that Marvin and Tyler were taught. Books like Tyler Johnson Was Here are part of my lesson in learning how my life is drastically different than others around me. Like The Hate U Give and Long Way DownTyler Johnson Was Here struck me in the heart and made me incredibly angry about the systemic racism that has permeated all aspects of the society of the United States.

It’s impossible to read this book without feeling emotional, and I went through a lot of anger and sadness as I read the story. While this is a fictional story, Coles did a good job of weaving fiction with reality. That’s what makes books like Tyler Johnson Was Here difficult to read.  You can’t just read it as a work of fiction. It can’t be thought of as only a work of fiction when the book illustrates the reality of black men and women being harmed and killed by the police. There’s a reality that is unavoidable when you read books like this, and I don’t recommend that you try avoiding it. It’s something that needs to be read. It’s something that needs to be understood by those who have never had to experience it. It’s so important, and I’m so glad that books like this are being talked about.

Continue reading