Lots of Thoughts // Almost 3 Magical Books // Mini Reviews

I’m starting out the New Year right – getting my TBR tackled! *applause* These books might deserve a full review, but we’re throwing them all into mini-reviews.
Because wouldn’t you prefer a mini-review over a 1,000 rambling words? Of course. You’re welcome.

Three books I’ve been meaning to read for forever. Finally accomplished. Or almost accomplished. Just keep reading.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Published March 2017 // Book Depository 

5/5 stars

An amazing choice for my first read of 2018. Laini Taylor blew me away!

100% beautiful magic + a fantastic story blended into a puddle of tears.
Because you should cry. If you don’t cry, you’re a heartless monster. Just saying.

And as a bookworm and believer in fairytales, I felt personally attached to this story. As though it was all my dreams wrapped into a beautiful song.

The characters. An intricate world. And so many questions!

  • Lazlo Strange. He’s just so different from average book heroes. Quiet. Incredibly humble. Dreamy.
    He is the Dreamer. Lazlo wouldn’t be called a compelling character – he’s far too quiet and assuming for that role.
    But he’s such sympathetic main guy. The guy shuffled to the back of the room. Always picked last. Almost completely ignored. Our sweet cinnamon roll who happens to be the main character.
  • Also, the story is unguessable. (Is that a word???) Laini Taylor ALWAYS has such intricate plots, and she kept me on the edge of her seat with this story. I needed a breather afterwords.
  • Lots of Grey areas. In between all that magic and breathtaking plot, Laini Taylor mixed in questions of morality. The issues were so much deeper than I imagined. And I don’t think I even came close to deciding what side was actually right. I’m still unsure who the real villain is.

Anything I didn’t like?

The ending! Why???? Sheer torture. And we have to wait at least another year for the sequel??? Though the title, Muse of Nightmares 😍 I’m pretty excited for the sequel. Moved up to my most anticipated release as soon as I finished Strange the Dreamer.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

 Published February 2015 // Book Depository

5/5 stars

Wow. That’s literally all I had to say for an hour after reading this book. Which is quite an achievement for me.

This is the first V.E Schwab book I’ve ever read. If you want to yell at me for waiting this long, please do. I deserve it.
Schwab is incredible.

Though I kind of expected her writing to be amazing, because I’ve been stalking her twitter for a while.

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t choose an author based on their Twitter. But if they can make me happy in 140 characters, I can trust their whole book right?

  • Kell and Lila. Such humorous, great characters. The royal family of Maresh also stole my heart, I adore Prince Rhy. 😍
  • The way the magic works. It felt super fleshed out and different from a lot of fantasy worlds. Really enjoyed how everything worked & didn’t work together.
  • But the absolute best part was the ending! It wasn’t a cliffhanger!           Now, I know there’s 2 more books in this series, and I do plan on reading them. But I am SO HAPPY that we weren’t left hanging. Of course, I can tell there’s more to the story. But I’m not left in mortal fear of what happens next.

Speaking of fear, this book was incredibly intense. I think this is the first fantasy I’ve ever read where I was genuinely frightened for the characters. At least, so quickly. The stakes were just so high!

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

September 2016

Murdery mayhem. Notice there’s no stars? Just read my confessions. Ok?

Confession: I did not finish this book. First book I’ve ever DNFd. But I just couldn’t finish reading it.

It might be that I started it after Strange the Dreamer, and the story just isn’t on the same level as Laini Taylor?

Or it could really be the fact that I DON’T like murder mysteries. Maybe I’m just stupid, but I didn’t realize this was really just a murder mystery.

(Yeah, how could I not see that?) Ok, I didn’t read the synopsis. At least not that well. The book was on sale!

People just kept chatting about this book.

  • Victorian London? That’s my cup of tea! And it’s a debut novel, and I like supporting new authors.
  • Everything in this book fell flat. And I read over 100 pages. Long enough to guess who Jack the Ripper was. (I checked and I was right)
  • Audrey Rose just wasn’t a very compelling character. She felt whiney and very self-centered. And the love interest? Whatever his name… I can’t even remember his name, wow.
  • Way too insta love for me. Pseudo Darcy/Lizzy hate to love. But the hate felt more like stupid teenager mood swings than real dislike?

If I liked an interesting take on murder and insanity, I might love this book.

Another confession: I mainly picked up this book because it is the first in a series. Since more books in the series are being released in the near future, I thought I should start the series. But after not enjoying the frist, I don’t think I’ll continue with these books.

lets chat

Have you read any of these three books?  Are you a fan of murder mysteries? Are any of these on your TBR pile?  Do you follow authors on Twitter? 





  1. January 15, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    Ahh, A Darker Shade of Magic!! I’m so ready to read the second two books too. I actually wasn’t too excited going in because I didn’t like This Savage Sobn, but I changed my mind after the first sentence. Nope, I don’t like murder mysteries either. Mysteries just aren’t my cup of tea in general. Ooh, it wasn’t before, but Strange the Dreamer is definitely on TBR now!

    • Elizabeth Hunter
      January 15, 2018 / 3:53 pm

      ADSOM was gripping from the first sentence! I haven’t read this Savage Song, but I might pick it up later this spring. I like the violin on the cover, but I haven’t heard much about the story.
      Murder Mysteries are so bleh. I think it’s because they aren’t about character growth? Not really sure why I find them so tedious.
      And yes! I hope you love Strange the Dreamer!

  2. January 15, 2018 / 4:05 pm

    Ooooh I loved Strange the Dreamer! And I’m so excited about Muse of Nightmares! A darker shade of magic has been on my tbr for a while now and I’ve never read anything by V.E Schwab so I’m excited to see what it’s like! And I’ve been thinking about reading Stalking Jack the Ripper but always thought it wasn’t really for me even though people loved it… and now that I know it’s a murder mystery it probably isn’t for me 😂

  3. January 16, 2018 / 8:20 am

    I’ve read A Darker Shade of Magic, but it wasn’t really my thing. That’s the third V. E. Schwab I’ve tried and haven’t enjoyed, so I just don’t think she’s for me. I would like to read Strange the Dreamer, but haven’t gotten to it yet. And I adore mysteries as long as they’re well written. Have you tried Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes?

    • Elizabeth Hunter
      January 16, 2018 / 7:53 pm

      Oh, that’s too bad! But sometimes an author just won’t work. 😞
      I have dabbled with some Christie, but the writing style just doesn’t hold my attention.

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