“The Best Kind of Magic” by Crystal Cestari

There is so much that I loved about this book!! ‘Windy City Magic #1’ felt like a cozy mystery for teens and it was my JAM!!! Or you could look at it as Urban Fantasy/Romance for teens just the same. A couple of my little pet peeves showed up and made my eyeballs twitch a bit, but overall, I can’t wait for the second book! Or third or fourth! Let me first give a brief synopsis, and then I’ll cover my opinions:

25436641The Best Kind of Magic gives us a tour of all kinds of magic in the Windy City of Chicago. We see goblins, fairies, leprechauns, werewolves, vampires, sirens, and of course, witches. Amber Sand is a not a witch. Her mother is, but Amber is a matchmaker, meaning that she can look into people’s eyes and see their true love. One day, the mayor’s son (who is also the most talked-about boy in school) comes in to visit Amber at her mother’s shop, Windy City Magic, and requesting her help in finding his father’s missing girlfriend. Thus begins an adventure with romance, humor, bad guys, a twist and a turn and a to be continued in book 2!! (not a cliffhanger! This book wraps up nicely…..mostly.)

The first thing I liked about this book was the genre feel. I am a sucker for a cozy mystery, I enjoy paranormal romances, and then put those things in a YA format….have I died and gone to heaven?! Almost too good to be true. I loved it. I wish there was more of this writing out there. So with this genre comes the characters. There was a good mix of humans and paranormals. I liked how Amber and her mother, and even their coven, had a certain struggle with Amber’s matchmaking talents. It was a very different and clever spin on the traditional “coming of age story” that you usually get in YA books and I really liked that. Amani (Amber’s best friend) has her own struggles with her magical gifts of being a precog. Their friendship in the book is wonderful, by the way. I just saw a meme the other day that went something like this:

Friend: Oh, I’m so sorry, what can I do?
Best friend: 1/2 price shakes at Sonic. Get your butt in the car, I’m driving!
sonic-milkshakes
That’s the kind of friends Amber and Amani are. Partially because of their mystic powers and partially because they are comfortable and secure in their own selves (which other high school students find “weird” and “different” of course), the two friends are outcasts and have a very close friendship. Back on track. Charlie is a human and he does a great job taking in everything in the PRN world. You almost wonder every once in a while if he and his father have trace amounts of supernatural in their blood somewhere. Of course, the biggest wrench in the story comes when Amber sees that Charlie’s match is not her, but could she be wrong? That’s why we’re eagerly awaiting book 2!

Ok, I will speak of my one biggest pet peeves that occurred in this book: immature language. I hate when authors frequently use immature language. If you want to call it that. To me, its almost Valley Girl…rich snob…Pretty Little Liars…I barely hear kids talking like that and I work in a private high school myself. Granted, not in Chicago, but in Northern Illinois within 60 miles of Chicago. I do not hear students commonly using the words “natch” instead of natural (I’ve never heard that), or “cas” for casual (I have heard this, but not frequently). In the first 100 pages of the book when we are first meeting the characters, this kind of abbreviated language is EVERYWHERE. It DEFINES Amber’s personality and sense of humor. Toward the middle, it fades out and she is more just sarcastic and witty with Charlie but in the beginning, we are NOT talking to a lowly girl. I just didn’t see her as having that much of a consistent attitude. Ivy, the blonde cheerleader mean girl? For sure. But Amber? No. I hated that. I like to read full English words and sentences. Maybe that’s the adult in me reading a YA novel so excuse this paragraph if so. But I’m just saying. I HATE abbreviated teen-speak. Ugh! Not appropriate for books, IMO.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Soundtrack: “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas

signature

Advertisements

The Wrapping Up of All the Things

As always, the end of all things came too quickly. More specifically in this case #24in48, the Biannual Bibliothon, and even more significantly, JULY!! How did July get by us? I guess we say that every month. Ah, well. Time to wrap it all up.

o7f2dlnf_400x400To begin the recap, for #24in48, I completed my full 24 hours of reading plus just a little more and I felt so accomplished! In those 24 hours, I finished All Things New, and I came close to finishing Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I also made some progress on The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but for whatever reason, that is a really slow read for me. It just doesn’t hold my interest very strongly.

dcj4gyko_400x400Next up was the weeklong Summer Biannual Bibliothon, which just wrapped up yesterday. My week was busier than I anticipated, unfortunately, but I did get some reading done and some books wrapped up. So during the Bibliothon, I finished Once and For All, I started a new cozy series (because they tend to keep me out of slumps and I am really anticipating fall!) called Curse the Day and I finished that book as well, I started and finished Erin Watt’s When It’s Real, and I have been reading First We Were IV and When I am Through With You. So that’s 3 finished and 2 progressed through. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with that!

And now for the overall July breakdown:

★★★★★ The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

★★★★ Hook’s Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself by John Leonard Pielmeier

★★★★ When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

★★★★ All Things New by Lauren Miller

★★★ Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

★★★★ Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

★★★★ When It’s Real by Erin Watt

So that’s it, folks. 7 books total finished for the month. 3 of them were ARC’s read before their publication dates. Average rating = 4.0

Its so weird for me to be reading so many contemporaries. As I mentioned earlier, I was craving that cozy/witchy mystery with fall coming up because I just felt a slump coming on and I think it is partially because of the genres I’m reading. I tend to read more YA contemporary romance in the summertime. It just feels right to me. I’m glad that I have been because I have been finding some gems and obviously, from the ratings above, I recommend them as well! Until next time, I also highly recommend finding yourself a readathon or two to participate in. It boosted my reading from 4-5 books read per month to 7! Sure it takes a little organization if you are going to commit and there are optional challenges you can participate in but they are all in good fun. Goodluck and as always, happy reading!

Currently watching: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

signature

 

#24in48 Read-a-thon Wrap-up

Hello everyone!!! As of about 10:15pm this evening I hit my goal of 24 hours of reading!! I know this because I used the BookOut app to track the books I was reading on my iPad as well as my physical books, plus I added those totals to the times in my audiobook and voila! 24 hours and counting!

So here’s what exactly I finished reading:

  • All Things New* by Lauren Miller (a NetGalley ARC)
  • Once and for All* by Sarah Dessen (review will be posted tomorrow morning)
  • Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

And I made some progress in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. The books with an asterisk* I had already started reading, and I just finished them during the read-a-thon.

Here are the wrap-up questions posted by Rachel, Kristen, and Kerry:

  1. How many books did you read? Pages? (If you didn’t keep track, tell me that too!) Not sure about exact page #, but I finished 3 books and was working on a 4th.
  2. How many hours did you read? I read for +24 hours! Close to 25.
  3. What do you think worked well in this readathon? Using the hashtag on social media, especially Twitter.
  4. What do you think could be done to improve the readathon for next time? Instagram could be more active.
  5. Will you participate in a future 24in48 readathon? Absolutely!

signature

Let the Summer Biannual Bibliothon Begin

6b602617cb4c30652a0f969cee83cbc0Its finally here. We now embark on this Bibliothon, which lasts an entire week, so hopes are high that much reading will get done! Already the BB team has prompts up for the full week for our blogs and social media accounts so you better believe I’m trying to keep ahead of the game because that means more time for reading! So for day 1 we have a Book Blogger Tag hosted by Nana @4teenliars :

Blogger Book Tag Questions:
1. What are you planning to read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?
. “Once and For All,” “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street,” “The Flame in the Mist,” “First We Were IV,” “Windy City Magic,” “Dividing Eden”
2. What is your favourite genre to read in Summer?
. I tend to read more contemporary books in summer than the rest of the year, especially in audiobook format. I also try to read at least one full series each summer.
3.Where is your favourite place to read in the summer?
. I enjoy reading outside whenever possible. I love the summer air, the birds singing, the wind in the trees
4.What is your favourite challenge done in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?
. I like tags and group reads. They require me to think, but not too much. Usually my brain is so focused on reading that I need a break, but not too much of a distraction.
5.What fictional character would you hang out in the summer if you could?
. Katniss or Luna
6.What are your plans for summer?
. Currently I’m unemployed (sad) so all I’m doing is applying for jobs (boring) and reading (fun!)
7.Do you have summer reading playlist, If not what would be on it?
. Mostly I use a playlist that someone made for Dewey’s 24-hour read-a-thon. Its 24-hours of amazing music for reading and I LOVE it!!
8.What is your favourite summer movie?
. Always the Marvel movies. I still haven’t decided how I feel about the DC characters yet.
9.What book do you read every summer, if not what thing do you do every summer?
. Go camping with family and/or friends.
10.What other book tags are you planning to do this summer?

Honestly I’m new with the tags so I just plan to do what I come across.

If you’re curious and interested in joining the Biannual Bookathon, check them out on Twitter @BBibliothon or Instagram @BiannualBibliothon !

Sing on!

signature

 

24 in 48 Read-a-thon

We interrupt your regularly scheduled set of preparations for the Bibliothon next week to participate in the 24 in 48 Read-a-thon! This event is a perfect prelude to the Bibliothon, in my opinion, and I’ve been really looking forward to it! I love these marathon events that give me an excuse to block out the rest of the world for a full weekend, stay up late at night, and then snuggle up all day and just do nothing but READ!!! So that is my plan!

The goal of 24 in 48 is to keep track of the amount of time that you’re (I’m) reading and reach a total of 24 hours over the 48-hour span of the weekend. At this time, I’m listening to an audiobook recording of Sarah Dessen’s “Once and For All” so that pretty much keeps track for me. My other resource for this is an app I recently found called BookOut. Its pretty sweet. You can input whatever book you are reading and then keep track of your pages read, quotes you like, and time spent reading. Its pretty sweet. As of right now, the free version has tons of pop-up ads but whatever. I haven’t decided that I’ll use it enough to pay $4.99 for the full version yet.

So for now, I will leave you with what I am currently working on reading for the RAT. I am hoping to finish at least one if not all of these over the course of this event so I can move on to bigger and better things for the Bibliothon.

 

signature

Royalty Readathon + “Wires and Nerve” by Marissa Meyer

royalty-readathonSo first off, let me just announce that this week I have been participating in the Royalty Readathon! This readathon is being hosted by Kati (@toberead) and her gang. I applaud Kati’s enthusiasm for getting this up and running and her theme is so unique, its just been super fun to stick with the “royals” theme. I’ve been making some good progress (much better than the last RAT I did….oops….!!) and I’ve finished 2 books already!! So a big shoutout and thanks to Kati for everything she’s doing and I wish her all the success and growth in future reading and readathons!!

wiresThen, of course, I finished Wires and Nerve, which is Marissa Meyer’s graphic novel. It is set right after the the end of the Lunar Chronicles books so yes, you should finish Winter before you pick up this book. I had never read a graphic novel (nor a comic book nor anything of the sort) before this so I was skeptical about whether I would be able to even figure this out but it was fine. I even really enjoyed it!! The story is written from Iko’s point of view and between Iko and Thorne (who gets a lot of book time), this novel had me literally laughing out loud! Of course there is conflict and all of the heroes make their appearances but the humor and adorability factor is high. I absolutely loved seeing these characters come to life!! I was in no way disappointed. And the book is very much set up for book #2 so I am very highly anticipating that. Marissa Meyer, don’t keep us waiting too long!

Listening to: “Colors in Space” by Explosions in the Sky

signature

Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! I hope the final stretch of your Bout of Books read a thon was productive!….or at least moreso than mine. Fortunately, though, this is one of the most encouraging RAT’s out there. My problem is that I’m doing so much multi-tasking these days that I don’t know where to invest most of my time. I’m involved in three group challenges, several ARCs, I’m working on getting a blog and a bookstagram going, AND preparing for a real life certification exam at the end of the month. I think I’m going to explode!!! But that’s not why you’re here. That’s all personal me bla bla bla. Reading progress:

The Circle – I’m ALMOST done. I read about 420 pages out of just over 500. The book is creeping me out so expect a ranting review coming soon.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Finished about 100 more pages so I’m about 2/3 of the way through. I was tempted to abandon this to start on a new ARC with a fast approaching deadline but I really dislike abandoning books so I’m just going to finish.

So that’s that, everyone. As I said, I hope everyone finished strong. I wish I could say that I completed these books, but I am much closer to finishing than I was a few days ago, so that is good. Until next time!!

Listening to: “Kowalski Rag” from Fantastic Beasts Soundtrack

signature

Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Day 6 & 7

#seasonsofbooks – This hashtag for today’s challenge got the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical RENT stuck in my head so of course that’s what I have to be listening to right now. This, of course, is making it harder for me to concentrate on choosing which books I think fit with which seasons, which is the challenge for today (this sounds like an exhausting, real-life version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie….like, if you give a Music/Book Nerd a Challenge lol!). Okay, enough shenanigans. Down to business.

I’m going to be honest. I collect and hoard bookish Buzzfeed seasonal lists like they’re going out of style. I don’t know why but I just love them. I have all 4 seasons plus every holiday down to freakin’ Flag Day or something like that. I just love lists. And I love books. So I guess its easy to say that I love book lists! So here are the highlights of my seasonal book lists (note: I have read none of these. They are literally from my lists and they just sound good to me!):

Spring ~ The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon; Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham; Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Summer ~ One Plus One by Jojo Moyes; Love Like Crazy by Megan Squires; Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Fall [my favorite season for books and ALL THE THINGS] ~ The Magicians by Lev Grossman; Dark Matter by Blake Crouch; The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Winter ~ The Likeness by Tana French; Heartless by Marissa Meyer; Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

So there you have it, folks. My not-at-all brief list of books for all seasons. I guess my spring books are pretty light and have some humor to them, and there’s even a non-fiction in the mix (I rarely read non-fiction…only a couple each year). Summer books are also pretty fun. I might try to get through a series in the summer. I was thinking about tackling a Sarah J. Maas this summer. Maybe. Fall is all small towns and paranormal and thrillers and cozies. I read like crazy in the fall. Winter I read a lot too. Lots of holiday books and fun series re-reads. I tend to feel Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Arcana Chronicles-ish in the winter time. What did everyone else pick? I’m so curious now! I want more lists and recommendations!! 😀

Soundtrack for today: RENT original cast recording

signature

Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Day 5

Yesterday’s reading stats:

⇒ 22 pages read in The Circle

⇒ 35 pages read in  The Sweetness in the Bottom of the Pie

⇒ Read a one chapter preview on “First to Read” of Woman No. 17. I am intrigued! Added it to my TBR!

For my first day jumping into this read-a-thon, I’m not very happy with this reading but I did a lot of social media/ARC research and I started my #bookstagram account and I’m trying to get ahead in taking a few pictures for it! Personal goals for my IG: get on some Storygram tours, maybe rep for a company at some point, find some followers. I don’t have a company of my own, but I have been slowly building up my blog so I’m hoping to break more into the world of YA reviewing (which is what I mostly read, though so far I mostly get approved for adult fiction), and I want to figure out how to get hard copies of books, not just digital copies. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!

Ok, for the grand finale for today, the Day 5 challenge for Bout of Books is book spine rainbows! I will leave you with my little one. Until next time:

c_pi8gexuaexxy5

Listening to: “Carolina” by Harry Styles

signature

Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Day 4

Clearly, since I am new to the blogging world, I am always the last to know about awesome things. So here I am playing catch up…but that’s okay, because at least I caught it!! I have 4-6 books that I need to finish plus some major studying that I need to do, and then I am not doing this to myself again!! So here goes!

Day 1 was introductions #insixwords …no more, no less. So here is what I would say: Colorful ~ Singer ~ Reader ~ Teacher ~ Loving ~ Organized

Day 2 was typography titles, which I thought was really cool. Fact: my little brother is a big, fancy graphic designer in NYC and I’m super proud of him. He works with this company that does projects for companies like Kashi and M&Ms and Budweiser (I’m allowed to say all of this pubically, right? Hope so…I don’t know why not). Its a great company and they do good work. Anyway, back to the books here.

20037328 5510384 12287209

Day 3 is always a favorite topic for everyone: THE SHELFIE!! If you want to see mine, you’ll have to click the link here to see my Twitter page. I posted my favorite shelfie, of course….my Harry Potter shelf! I’ve got my favorite set of HP paperbacks, a few Funko figures, a few candles, a few creatures, a few magnetic bookmarks, the Elder Wand, my Blu Ray set, my illustrated books thus far (I can’t wait until all of those release!!!).

So now I’m going to go do my reading for Day 4 and think about this “Dating profile for a literary character” thing. I’m awful at this type of thing but we’ll see if I can come up with anything. Happy reading, all!

Currently listening: “Fawkes the Phoenix” by John Williams from HP & The Chamber of Secrets

signature