Books

This Would Make a Great Adventure Cruise

ship of smoke and steel

Ship of Smoke and Steel

By: Django Wexler

An enormous and seemingly impossible ship full of sacrifices. Commanded by an unseen Captain and a vicious crew. Guarded by “angels” who won’t let you leave once you board.

Action, violence, love and lust, betrayal and a fight for survival against a series of strange creatures including giant man-eating crabs.

I really think someone should get into the book tourism business because this would make a great cruise.

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Books

A Magical Road Trip

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox

By: Julie Kagawa

A half kitsune half human girl, a demon possessed samurai, a down-on-his luck ronin and a noble with a strange past time walk into your village… What do you do? You should probably run because they’re likely being trailed by demons and giant centipedes. Maybe don’t try to take advantage of them though.

Either way.

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Movies

Do You Hear the Ticking?

The House with a Clock In Its Walls

The House with a Clock In Its Walls

Directed By: Eli Roth

Grade: B+

I’m going to be completely honest here. I literally could have watched two hours of Jack Black and Cate Blanchett snarking at each other and I would have enjoyed it. The actual movie is about a young orphan Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his Uncle in a wild house full of secrets. Blanchett plays Mrs. Zimmerman Uncle Jonathan’s friend and neighbor.

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Books

Walking the (Rocky) Path with Red Sister

red sister

Red Sister

By: Mark Lawrence

Grade: B+

I was really excited to read Red Sister but I have to be honest for a little while I didn’t think I’d even finish it. This is mainly the story of Nona- trouble seems to find her and she winds up in the Convent of Sweet Mercy a school of girls being trained to become Nuns/ Sisters/ Super Assassins which sounded so bloody cool I jumped on it!

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Books

Blood Magic, Sisters & Blackmail

Rule

Rule

By: Ellen Goodlett

Grade: A-

The ill King brings his 3 illegitimate daughters to court to train them and pick one to be his heir. Said daughters all have secrets and launched into a court on edge they have to work together to survive and find out whose blackmailing them.

I received this copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Books

Spinning Silver Needed Cuts

spinning silver

Spinning Silver

By: Naomi Novik

Grade: C

Spinning Silver was one of my most anticipated books of the year and unfortunately, it was a bit of a let-down. I loved Uprooted (the authors last novel) but I think this one could have used another pass at editing.

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Television

Little Witch Academy (TV)

Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academy

Created By: Yoh Yoshinari

Produced: Trigger

Grade: A

“Believing in yourself is your magic.”

I really haven’t had much luck or interest in many tv series this year. But I found Little Witch Academy and just speed through the whole thing in like a week and a half. Which is really good for me. I found it on Netflix. It’s the story of a young girl called Akko, who goes off to a witch academy but she’s not that great at being a witch.

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Movies

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Director: David Yates

Grade: B+

All I really need is to hear the old Harry Potter music and you can get me into the theatre. Balanced against the fact that I’m not that big on Eddie Redmayne I was however a little worried about this one.

Redmayne plays Newt Scamander who comes into 1920’s era New York with a suitcase full of fantastic beasts. Unfortunately due to the suitcase not working all that well and a mix-up some of the beasts get released into the city and Newt and friends must find them before they get into trouble.

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Books

Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Grade: B

Every generation a set of female triplets is born to the Queen. As children they are taken and fostered out to three families to perfect there “gifts.” In this generation Mirabella is an elemental, Katharine a poisoner and Arsinoe a naturalist. These three sisters then get a year to do all they can to kill each other and the last one standing gets to be Queen.

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Books

The Potion Diaries

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The Potion Diaries (or Madly)

Author: Amy Alward

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Grade: B

When Princess Evelyn accidentally gives herself a love potion a hunt among Nova’s great alchemists is called to find the ingredients and undo the spell before the Princess loses all control of her magic. The first thing I thought when I read the synopsis of this book (which I read as Madly from Amazon) was that would be me.

I mean I would be the girl accidentally giving herself a love potion and falling in love with herself (as Evelyn does). Yep, sounds like something silly I would do.

Evelyn is cute and Alward actually does a really good job of not making those scenes too outrageous. But the main character is actually Samantha Kemi, the latest generation of a famous family of alchemists. They used to be the favorites of the royal family but have been pushed out by the big pharmacies and the manufactured synthetic potions they can mass produce.

I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the magic parts and the scavenger hunt aspect and liked the fact that Sam was a smart character who was not above the ambition to put her family back where she believed they belong. Even if it meant (sadly) making a few mistakes and stabbing a few people in the back along the way.

For what it was I thought the world-building was pretty good here. There’s a lot of history between the Kemi’s and the royal family as well as some of the competitors. The admittedly small inclusion of the media was a nice touch to provide a bit of world color along the way.

I thought the romance with the son of her main competitor Zain Aster (also from the family who stole from her family) was fairly bland. On top of being pretty typical for this type story. Can you trust him? Does he really like her? Can you feel sorry for him or is it all just a ploy? I thought Evelyn’s relationship with herself had more chemistry.

I honestly wish Sam and Zain had been way reduced or completely left out so that it was just Sam, her family and the hunt with interludes of a losing control Princess Evelyn along the way.

Recommend: Yes.┬áIt’s a fun fast little fairy tale for people who like magic and globe-trotting scavenger hunts.