A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Non-Spoiler Review

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Book 1)
Series: Shades of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars



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.


Once a upon a time, the four Londons co-existed and with it, Antari, magicians that have the ability to travel from London to London. The four Londons are Red, Grey, White, and Black. In present times, a lot of people think that Black London is a myth, a story that you tell your children to scare them. Kell who so happens to be a main character and Antari, was raised in Red London as an adopted son to the King and Queen. He serves the Red London Empire and is used to travel the different Londons per duty. Each London is different in its own way and while traveling to one particular London, Kell finds that he might have to pay for the consequences of his smuggling from London to London. With those consequences comes an adventure to get everything back to the way it’s supposed to be and throughout this back and forth of London’s, Kell meets Lila Bard in a not so pleasant way. However, she might be everything Kell needed to have everything in order. A Darker Shade of Magic is the story of how balance is really important with all four London’s and getting that balance restored.


For those who have been following my blog for a little while now, you all know that Schwab isn’t a new-to-me author. I have read The Archived, Vicious, and Monsters of Verity Duology. I am obsessed with Schwab’s writing style. Schwab has a very distinct way of writing where usually the beginning of each book is a slow build up. By build up, I mean she is building not only the world, Schwab is also letting us get to know the characters she’s created, and what the plot entails.

That is exactly what we get with A Darker Shade of Magic. Through dialogue and scenes, we are meeting the different types of London’s and obtaining their descriptions, we meet characters and where the plot may go. I thought this was perfectly executed because although it was a slow start, Schwab definitely builds everything up for the next books to come. Also, once Schwab sets her world and characters, she runs with the plot without slowing down to give us any descriptions for anything else.


I really loved the cast of characters Schwab presented to us. Even the bad ones were creepy and well done like those Diabolical Dane Twins as I call them from White London. Schwab described them so perfectly that they made me cringe in disgust. They are evil blood suckers who are obsessed with magic and will do anything to get what they want when they want. Since we’re on the topic of White London, we meet Holland who is one of the two Antari’s left. Holland definitely gave me mixed feelings but I won’t get too much into that because I feel like that would be a spoiler.

We also meet Lila Bard who I absolutely adored. Lila is from Grey London and she does anything possible to live one more day, even if it’s thieving. Lila’s character arc really struck a chord with me and her backstory touched me. Although we don’t get much of her backstory, Schwab definitely opens up to something…if you know what part I’m talking about, you know what I mean….I really cannot wait to see what happens with her in the next books to come. The banter her and Kell had throughout this magical fantastical world was hilarious. No matter how serious things were, Lila always had me in fits of giggles.

Kell was another character who definitely warmed my heart. A Darker Shade of Magic starts with him, and through him we got to see the different London’s. He is one of the two Antari left in all of the London’s. Kell with his good intentions and good heart always means well and goes beyond to please the King and Queen, plus his brother Rhy who we meet a few times throughout the book. Rhy (pronounced like the word ‘why’) is this beautiful boy who absolutely loves his brother Kell and wants the best for him. Rhy is charismatic and charming. I feel like I’m going to see a lot of growth in the next books to come because although we met him on the surface, Schwab gave us enough to make me think.


I absolutely loved this book! Schwab is an auto-buy author for me and I am sure that I will love the next two books. A Darker Shade of Magic was well built and I know this was only the foundation of what’s to come in the future two books. This world is dark and I love a good dark fantasy. The way Schwab wrote about magic was smooth and understandable to me. The plot was action packed and on point. A Darker Shade of Magic was definitely a page turner with very surprising elements. There were times that I gasped and was on the edge of my seat hoping for the best with some of these characters, except the diabolical dane twins, they can go straight to hell for all I care lol. Schwab created a world where if you do something that’s out of order, there will be consequences which won’t be a nice payout. And I have to admit that although some of the scenes were hard to read because I got attached to characters, I appreciate the raw honesty of it.

Overall, this a great book and this review was probably super vague but I didn’t want to mention too much..if you want to know about Black London, read the book (if you haven’t already lol)!


tumblr_ood0auQLvZ1ut8szno5_500tumblr_ood0auQLvZ1ut8szno1_500tumblr_ood0auQLvZ1ut8szno2_500tumblr_ood0auQLvZ1ut8szno4_500please click here for credit and link

thank you for stopping by! have you read this or plan on to? what are your thoughts? let’s chat in the comments!

Instagram: @chicnerdreads
Twitter: @ChicNerdReads

Friday Reads & Event Reminder in NYC

Hello everyone!! Happy Friday! It is a rainy gloomy day here in New York City and I am living for it. I just wish I was at home with my dog snuggling with my current read instead of being here at work managing an office lol. But the bills aren’t going to pay themselves so here I am!

I am currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab and let me tell you something…I AM LOVING EVERY BIT OF IT!!! Ugh I am so happy that I finally got into this series because it’s amazing! I am at the halfway point and I am hoping to maybe finishing it this weekend. I would say tonight but I have a hot date with Lilly@LairOfBooks via Facetime and that’s more important to me hehehe.

The world, the characters, the plot, EVERYTHING is dark and magical. Typical in Schwab fashion and I am absolutely fascinated!

22055262Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Event Reminder!

I will be at Bluestockings Bookstore on Thursday July 27, located at:
172 Allen St.
New York, NY 10002


This event is hosted by La Pluma y La Tinta. An organization that focuses on inspiring, elevating, and shining spotlight on people of color writers/poets. I will be reading some poetry pieces alongside with other writers.


If you’ll be in the area, I would love to see you there! You can RSVP here.

let’s chat in the comments! i know i am completely new with reading ADSOM, have you read it? thoughts?

Instagram: @chicnerdreads
Twitter: @chicnerdreads

Replica Spoiler Free Book Review

Title: Replica (Book #1)
Series: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA, SciFi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover (purchased)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Synopsis from Goodreads:


From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.

But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.


Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April.

But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.

Two girls, two stories, one novel.

While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.

*Trigger Warning: Suicide and Self Harm

I want to start by saying that there are 3 different ways too read this book, you can either
-read Lyra, then Gemma
-read Gemma, then Lyra
-read alternating chapters.
I read this as alternating chapters and I am so happy that I did!!


Replica is about the story of two girls Lyra and Gemma. When first starting the book, I wondered how the two would coincide together but it all weaves in beautifully. Haven institute is on an island off the coast of Florida and that’s where we meet Lyra and other replicas. Oliver takes us to the science of Haven and how these replicas are being created and treated. She also lets us see the culture that has been created within these replicas. They have never seen the outside world, besides seeing a nurse’s magazine or watching for 2 seconds TV in the nurses breakroom, all they know is white walls and one another. Gemma, all she’s known is hospitals her whole life due to her always being sick. The hovering of her parents and being over protective of every little move she makes. To the point where it’s unhealthy. She can only go out with her best friend April (Latinx, YAY!) but the parents of both girls are very strict. Something happens with Gemma in which makes her question one of the parents and it all connects with Haven. This is when Gemma does some digging and searching of her own and she finds out things that change her life forever.


In case you don’t know, Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite auto-buy authors. Lauren Oliver has this way of writing where she doesn’t tell you exactly what’s going on because she wants you to THINK! She wants you to take the smart brain that you have and connect pieces together. Which is why I love her so much because she will say something to you through her words but not directly. And I feel like this is where people misunderstand her writing.

Lauren Oliver does this exact same thing in Replica. She tells the story without giving you everything. Gemma and Lyra’s narration are both distinct and easy to tell apart. The author does give a notice before starting the book that some things were going to be told the same. HOWEVER, although sometimes Lyra and Gemma had same conversations, the thoughts of each one and their perspectives were really different. And I appreciated that so much. The pace for each girl was also different and I thought it added to the story.


I loved how each character presented in this book had a unique voice and played a part to the story as a whole.

Lyra, one of the main characters who has only known Haven her whole life. One of the experimental subjects. I loved her story and character. She’s so strong and I love how through her lens we see how she creates her own world and names objects by other things. Lyra reminded me a lot of Eleven from Stranger Things with the way she carried herself and expressions.

Gemma, another main character. She’s full of so many insecurities because she’s not a skinny girl like her classmates. All she knows is bullying and the constant hovering of her mother. She just wants to belong. I enjoyed seeing her journey from this insecure girl to this queen who does not stop for anyone to get what she wants. I was cheering her on like a mad woman! I thought Gemma’s character was very realistic.

72 is another experimental subject we get to meet. He does not have a name, he just goes by Number 72. He is rebellious all on his own. He does not trust anyone because he doesn’t know what to believe. There’s nothing really charming about this character, he definitely comes off as a hard-to-love person. However, I just feel like we get to sympathize with him when we learn everything he’s been through at Haven. We see him grow a little with Lyra.

We also meet Jake, Pervy Pete, and April. All minor characters that play important roles in the story. I feel like Pervy Pete was the one who definitely gave this book the laugh out loud moments (there’s a story behind his name but you should definitely read the book to see why he has that name). Jake the genius who helps Gemma throughout the discovery process. April the BFF! Honestly, when I found out that she was Latinx, I was very skeptical that she was going to fall into the stereotype. But behold, Lauren Oliver proved me wrong and I was like “oh finally!”


Overall, I loved this book! Lauren Oliver left me with so many questions which I’m pretty sure will be answered in the books to come. I thought the world and culture she created for both Gemma and Lyra were brilliant. Things that look normal to Lyra aren’t normal to someone in the outside world. Vice versa with Gemma. The science behind the making of the replicas was also spot on. It was simplified and easy to understand. Lauren Oliver created a fictional world with a realistic setting and real characters. I sympathized with these characters and what they were going through. I also loved how sometimes we got eerie undertones in this book. This book gave me Stranger Things (Netflix show) vibes. Lauren Oliver definitely had me guessing at every turn what was going on and I was surprised with the turn out. This was my first ever read about Clones and I’m happy with how Oliver developed this world. I would highly recommend this read.

IMG_7255.PNGCreated by me

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter: @ChicNerdReads
Friend me on Goodreads: Gretchen (ChicNerdReads)

Series I Will Not Be Finishing – Part 2

If you haven’t checked out Part 1 then click here.
I will continue with my “series I will not be finishing” and explaining why I won’t continue with these books. Each title of the book will lead you to the Goodreads page if you are interested in reading it yourself.

17675462The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater I found the first book to be flat and boring. I didn’t enjoy any of the characters (I can usually get into characters even when they aren’t relatable) nor the plot. The ending definitely didn’t leave me wanting to read the rest of the series. In my opinion, this book is very dull. I wasn’t confused about the story or what was going on because it was crystal clear to me, I was just really bored with the writing, the characters, and the plot. No, I will not be giving this book another shot (I get asked this a lot for some weird reason).



13455782Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi I read the first book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to the second book though and was like “WTF IS GOING ON?!?!” halfway through. In my opinion, I don’t feel like this book had second book syndrome but I didn’t like how the author metaphorically killed one of the characters for plot reasons. I was over the book after that. I DNFed it.




Slated by Teri Terry and Maze Runner by James Dashner  are both Dystopian/Futuristic books that fell very flat to me. The plot and characters were pretty much the same in all Dystopian novels. I found both of them to be super slow after getting into more than halfway through.

10507293The Selection Series by Kiera Cass I feel like a lot of people have the same feelings as I do and that is, this series should’ve been left with the first 3 books. The author should’ve considered book 4 and 5 a spin off series and not a continuation. I didn’t LOVE the first 3 books but they were enjoyable and I couldn’t put them down. Once I got to the 4th book, I was over it. People thought America was annoying, I thought her daughter was a lot worse. So no thank you.



Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw this was seriously Twilight 2.0 minus the vampires and
Going Down In Flames by Chris Cannon also falls in the same category of stories I’ve read before and I don’t care to read the same books with different character names

6304335Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl I read the first 3 books and it went all downhill from the first book and on. My reviews went from 5 stars, 4 stars, 3 stars, and then DNF. I was no longer interested nor invested in the story and characters. I felt like too much was going on and no longer making any sense.




10818853Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James Do I need an explanation for this? Lol! Just kidding! Well actually I read the first two books (both rated 3 stars) and I was going to read the last book because I was interested in the plot (not going to lie) but someone spoiled the ending for me so whelp, don’t care.





9460487Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs This book was just way too slow for me. I liked the plot and the world was pretty cool to imagine but I couldn’t do it with the slowness, I was way too bored, literally falling asleep. I read this book throughout a 4 hour plane ride (I never sleep on plane rides) and my eyes were so heavy. I do look forward to watching the movie though because Tim Burton!




Have you DNFed any of these? Or do you love any of these? Let’s discuss more thoroughly in the comments!


Series I Will Not Be Finishing – Part 1

There was a time when I was a booktuber and posted a video about this but I wanted to share with you the series I will not be finishing. This will be posted in two parts because it’s a long list! I’ll let you know why I won’t be finishing these series. The titles of each book will lead you to the Goodreads page if you’re interested picking it up.

17969353-2Torn by K.A. Robinson is a New Adult series. This series includes 7 books and I only read the first book, rated it a 2 star. I couldn’t stand the the hardcore love triangle and the Main Character just highly got on my nerves. I didn’t understand the whole “he’s like my brother” to “we are now dating”….girl what? The only thing I enjoyed was the writing and how fast paced it was. Other than that? No thanks.



18775299Collide by Gail McHugh is also a New Adult. This one is a duology. I was actually rooting for this book till the drama got repetitive and another Main Character that is super annoying. I didn’t agree with any of her decisions. I liked that the story was written in 3rd person so we get to see both main characters thought process. But that’s about it. I don’t care for the characters to read the other book.



13597755Hexed (The Witch Hunter) by Michelle Krys I LOVED THE FIRST BOOK!!!! I had high hopes for this witchy YA series till the 2nd book came out and the author decided to through in every single YA Trope possible. I don’t understand why she did that, it was going great. The tropes were not needed but then again that’s just my opinion. Wah!!!




17199504The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon I really wanted to like this book but I couldn’t do it. The whole glossary in the back of the book just killed it for me. I read for enjoyment and I honestly felt like I was in school again scrolling to the back of the textbook to find the definition. No thanks.





20758104Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness I read about 150 pages of this book and then DNFed (did not finish) it. I couldn’t do it anymore. So slow! I did hear the series gets better, however, I am at a point with my reading that I don’t like wasting my time on books I am not interested in. Nor do I like to force myself through a book.




7488244Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is a nephilim/fallen angels series which I love reading those kinds of books!!! I enjoyed this book, however, I felt like it was very much the same as other Fallen Angel YA books I have read so I won’t be continuing them. It didn’t feel authentic to me.





16070143-2Teardrop by Lauren Kate is pretty much a Atlantis/underwater-ish kind of book and I feel like these books with this theme aren’t done right. The first book was so slow and although I did buy the second book, I will not be picking it up. Especially after reading some of the reviews on Goodreads and also seeing the drop in ratings compared to the 1st book. I can’t even remember most of the book. It’s one of those forgettable books.



8490112Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor I loved the first book and then the second book I found to be awfully slow so once I had started the third book, I was over it. I read about 80 pages and couldn’t do it anymore. I have no interest in finishing the last book. I have so many other books I would rather read. The world was beautifully written and the characters were super cool but I’ll pass.




11300302White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter. Soooooooo here’s my problem with this one. I’m a pastors daughter and I was born and raised in the Christian religion (I don’t consider myself a Christian) but I learned A LOT about the Bible, etc. While reading this book, I found Christian themes in this book and I honestly felt like I was reading the Bible with zombies in it (no offense if you have your own beliefs) and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t differentiate between the Bible and this book. I was honestly rolling my eyes SO FREAKING MUCH! When I went to the authors website, I read about her converting to Christianity and everything all made sense to me. I definitely will not be reading this at all.


And that is it for this post, I will be posting part 2 in 2 days. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Tuesday Talks – What is the longest series you’ve read?

Tuesday Talks is a group on Goodreads, just like Top 5 Wednesday where the moderator gives a topic and you discuss on it. Today’s topic or rather question is “What is the longest series you have read?”

The answer for me is: Shadow Falls Series by C.C. Hunter (5 books) this also includes the spin off series which is called Shadow Falls: After Dark (3 books) and all the novellas that are included in a book named Almost Midnight (5 novellas).

I know this isn’t a hyped up series like Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, Throne of Glass….you get the gist of what I’m saying.


If you like boarding school, everything paranormal which includes: ghost whisperers, vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, etc. With a twist of FBI, getting to know who you are, and some serious tropes. Then pick this up!

This book has some awesome female friendships (which I personally think we need more in YA) and romance. Plus we meet some kickass female characters who are realistic (insecurities, love interest, finding yourself), there’s great character development, and there are adults present in these teenagers lives.

Here is a more in-depth synopsis from Goodreads:

“One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…”

I just loved this series, yes there’s tons of series out there that probably have the same synopsis, characters, tropes, etc. However, I thought the author did this well. We have Kylie who doesn’t know what paranormal creature she is, Della who is this kick ass sarcastic vampire that you just love because you know she’s going through the motions, and you have Miranda the dyslexic witch who messes up all the spells but always makes a joke of it.

The spinoff series Shadow Falls: After Dark has one more book coming out but if this series had like 10 more books, I would devour each one.