AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: VE SCHWAB

Today, I’m trying a new type of post out for you guys. — a spotlight on one of my favorite authors! I plan to give a quick little run down of the author and their work, and then I’ll list my favorite books by them that I’ve read!

To start us off, I’m going with VE SCHWAB. She is an auto-buy author for me, and has been since I first read the Shades of Magic series. I’ve read most of her work, and honestly? I’ve loved all but one of her books that I’ve read! (Gallant was slightly disappointing.) What books by her I haven’t read, I already own. I just need to sit down and get into them! Onto the post, then!

V.E. SCHWAB aka VICTORIA SCHWAB

  • WHAT’S SHE KNOWN FOR? Dark, incredibly lush stories that tend to feel like old-school fairy tales
  • HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE I READ BY HER? Eight, but she’s written over 20 books for all different ages.
  • WHAT GENRES DOES SHE WRITE? Typically fantasy, but has dipped her toes into sci-fi as well.
  • WHERE CAN WE FIND HER? Twitter | Instagram | Her website

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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.

WHY DID I LOVE THE SHADES OF MAGIC SERIES? 

This is one of the first modern fantasy series that I picked up back when I first started getting back into reading a whole lot. It’s an incredibly unique take on the genre — there are multiple different worlds layered on top of one another and only certain magicians can travel between them. Kell is a fantastic protagonist, but my heart belongs to Lila Bard and her absolute need to discover more about magic and the world Kell comes from. There is a satisfying ending to the series, but Schwab left it open enough that she could dip right back into this world. And, as far as I know, she is planning to do so!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 3
  • CW: Blood, violence, death, sexual assault

VICIOUS

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

WHY DID I LOVE VICIOUS? 

You know how superheroes have been literally everywhere since Iron Man came out in 2008? (A quick aside here — I adore the Marvel universe.) This is Schwab’s take on superheroes. This is a dark, modern story bent on revenge, on being the most powerful, and what happens when you give a terrible person the ability to do amazing things. There are some extremely memorable characters in this series, but I don’t want to spoil who or what they are!

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 3 in the main series, but only 2 are out right now. There is a graphic novel series set in the same universe, however.
  • CW: Death, violence, gun violence, animal death

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

the book cover for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. 

WHY DID I LOVE THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE? 

 This is really the first book I waited for anxiously since the last Harry Potter book came out. I think it might even be the first book I preordered since then, too. Hmm. ANYWAY — I longed for Addie the second Schwab announced it. It was everything I wanted, but I was still left wanting more at the end. This is a haunting tale about a girl who can never be remembered. Schwab’s writing is so good you can taste Addie’s loneliness.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? This is a standalone book.
  • CW: Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, death, sexual content, mental illness

THE NEAR WITCH

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

WHY DID I LOVE THE NEAR WITCH? 

I picked this one up while on maternity leave, because it was shorter, a standalone, and because I hadn’t read it yet. Kinda not-great reasons, but who cares. This book is a fairy tale. You know the old-school, don’t-do-this type of stories? Yeah. That’s The Near Witch. This is Schwab’s debut so it might feel slightly rougher than her newer works, but it’s absolutely worth the read. The romance in this one is melt-in-your-mouth sweet, with the innocence of childhood.

  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? This is a standalone book.
  • CW: Kidnapping, self harm, confinement, death, child abuse, death of parent, blood, animal death, fire

What’s your favorite VE Schwab book that you’ve ever read? Are any of these on your TBR? And, finally, do you have any suggestions for other authors you would like to see me spotlight? Keep in mind I’d like to stick to authors who have more than a couple of books out.

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS I HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO YET

Hey everybody! I’m home today with my little man as his usual caretakers are all sick! Means I get to skip out on work and hang out with my buddy today! So that means that I probably won’t be blog hopping today — I’ll be too busy making sure my kiddo doesn’t accidentally unalive himself, and that we’re having fun! I hope your Tuesday is going great!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is BOOKS I WAS SO EXCITED TO GET, BUT STILL HAVEN’T READ YET. Whoops. You know I got some for this topic…I went straight to my Kindle Library and scrolled, while taking notes. These are SOME of the books that I’ve bought in excitement, and uh…haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

I’m not going to lie to you, I straight up forgot I had bought some of these. (Looking at you, The Midnight Bargin.) Whoops. Do you see any books I absolutely have to get to soon? Let me know.

TOP TEN TUESDAY – ONE WORD REVIEWS

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. I love Top Ten Tuesday — I love seeing the unique answers every week, and I especially love the excuse to look at pretty cover art every Tuesday! This week’s topic is ONE WORD REVIEWS FOR THE LAST 10 BOOKS I READ. I can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with for this week! Without any further ado, let’s jump in.

The title of each book links back to my full review.

Do you agree with any of my one-word reviews? Link your TTT below so I can check it out!

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS WITH BLACK, WHITE, AND RED ON THE COVER

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. I love Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is BOOKS WITH [BLANK] ON THE COVER. I’m choosing to do covers that are BLACK, WHITE, AND RED.

What’s your favorite black, white, and red cover? It’s been an extremely popular color scheme as of late, so I know I missed some books out there! Link your TTT post below and I’ll check it out!

CONTRADICTIONS BOOK TAG

I was just recently tagged by Sweaters and Raindrops to do the Contradictions Book Tag! It looks super interesting, so I’m diving right in. This tag was originally made by Daniela at Only If For a Page. I’ll tag some people at the bottom so we can keep this going! Heeeeeeere we go!

Continue reading “CONTRADICTIONS BOOK TAG”

BOOK REVIEW: GALLANT BY V.E. SCHWAB

  • STAR RATING: 3.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 334 
  • CW: Death, Death of parent, Blood, Suicide, Child death, Bullying
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Any of Schwab’s other work, honestly.

SYNOPSIS

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for Girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home; it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile, or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

New York Times–bestselling author Victoria Schwab crafts a vivid and lush novel that grapples with the demons that are often locked behind closed doors. An eerie, stand-alone saga about life, death, and the young woman beckoned by both. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Melissa Albert, and Garth Nix will quickly lose themselves in this novel with crossover appeal for all ages.

For me, VE Schwab is one of those authors that I’ll buy without question. I’ve read almost all her work, and already own what I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I love her books, and her style — dark, haunting, and just the tiniest bit curious. Gallant as a novel mostly lives up to this.

I say mostly, because there was no real reason for this book to be classified as a novel, and not a novella. This story is a short one, and truth be told, there was a lot of filler in it. There are many full-page illustrations, and many pages that are filled up with just a few lines of text. Without those in there, I doubt this book would have cracked 250 pages.

Now, the story itself is good! Gallant reminds me of a classic fairy-tale and a ghost story all wrapped up in one.

Olivia, a mute orphan, receives a letter inviting her to her family’s estate, Gallant. Once she arrives, it becomes very apparent that no one there sent her the letter. There are only three people living at Gallant when she shows up — the gardener, the cook/house keeper, and her cousin. Everyone at the house is very secretive, and seemingly afraid of the dark. Schwab is excellent at making you feel dread without really knowing why. Olivia is instantly curious, and wanders until she finds something she is not supposed to. Gallant the house is spooky — filled with the ghouls of her family. The story moves forward and you realize that Gallant is haunted by something terrible.

Seeing the world from a mute character’s eyes was incredibly unique. You could feel Olivia’s frustration when she couldn’t communicate with someone. You don’t feel her voice as absent, though, because as you read, her thoughts fill up the pages.

This definitely isn’t my favorite of Schwab’s work, but I still think it’s worth the read if you like her other books.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

WWW WEDNESDAY – APRIL 13

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. It’s super simple — all you do is answer the following questions!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading my ARC of The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. It’s really, really good so far and I’m only something like 32% of the way into it! I just finished Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross, which was slightly disappointing, unfortunately. Review will be up tomorrow! Next, I’ll get into Gallant by VE Schwab, because I have it out from the library and need to get to it. I imagine I’ll blow through this one quite quickly!

What are you currently reading? Link your WWW posts below and I’ll check them out!

TOP TEN TUESDAY- FREEBIE

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is A FREEBIE. Therefore, I’m choosing to do BOOKS WITH A FEMALE MAIN CHARACTER.

I love seeing female characters kick ass. I love watching them grow, and learn, and be real people, rather than figureheads to be fridged. There are some badass women on this list, and some of my absolute favorite characters in fantasy.

  • SANCIA and BERENICE, from the Founders Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • SABRIEL and LIRAEL, from the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
  • ORKA and ELVAR, from the Bloodsworn Saga by John Gwynne
  • GIDEON and HARROW, from the Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir
  • VIN, from the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • EAD and QUEEN SABRAN, from the Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  • DIANA, and YSABEAU, from the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
  • ADDIE LARUE, from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
  • FEYRE, MOR, and AMREN, from ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas
  • ALINA, GENYA, and ZOYA from the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Who are your favorite female lead characters? Did I list them?

MONTHLY TBR – APRIL

I read a whopping TWELVE books in March, though I didn’t actually complete my TBR for that month. I’ll get around to Juniper and Thorn in April, for sure. Everything else though, I got through or DNFed. (Sorry Just Like Magic, I just couldn’t do it!) Here’s what I have coming up the pipeline for April. The first four I have ARCs for, but the rest have all already been released.

I’m most excited for We All Fall Down and Wolf Gone Wild. I can’t wait to dive into these books. Have you read any of these? What’s on your TBR for this month? Share your link below!