If We Were Having Coffee… On March 26

Hello my lovely booklovers,

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop that was started by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster, but has now moved to a new home with Emily at Nerd In The Brain. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

If we were having coffee today, we’d sit outside in the glorious sunshine, soaking up the sun and fresh air. For the first time this year it’s warm enough to leave your jacket at home. Spring is finally here!

I know I’ve missed another Weekend Coffee Share last week. Well, on Monday, 13 March, my hometown got a bomb threat. Now, we’re a fairly smallish town, with one shopping centre around the corner from where I live and work. It turned out to be false alarm, but if there had really been a bomb and had it detonated, we would have been in the zone. Bomb threads are not common at all in Germany, so for us to get one was more unexpected than scary. Like, why would you bother with a small town like ours?? It didn’t make sense. And I refuse to buy into fear – after all, the aim of terrorism is to spread terror, and panicking wouldn’t have helped.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my new teaching job is going pretty well so far. Of course there are still a few problems as with any new job you start, but the boss has got my back and I’m learning to be stricter. I have never been trusted this much before, and people have never believed in me and my skills/talents like this before, and I’m a bit overwhelmed by it all. It makes a nice change from being talked down to and taken for granted.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that we’re still moving house. The first lot is done, but we still need to clean out various cellars that especially my dad kept stuff in (but eventually migrated our stuff across to make space somewhere else). We need to get them cleared out by the middle of April, and I’m dreading it. At least I know that not a lot of it is mine  – an old stuffed animal, a few photo albums, some souvenirs and childhood memories. That’s all that’s left for me to move.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I am well aware that I’m once again behind with my reviews and other updates on this blog. I sometimes feel like my life is not my own at the moment, and I’m constantly exhausted. I read, but I can’t find the concentration to then sit down and write properly. I work my normal job (and within the first 3 months of 2017 I’ve worked enough unpaid overtime to take a whole month off in theory), now I teach 3 afternoons per week, have to plan lessons and then look after my gran and my dad and drive them places or go shopping with them, and I’m getting sick of being the only one who always has to drop her plans because nobody else is available.

All I can ask you is to bear with me. It’s not just this blog that is currently falling behind. I don’t even get left alone enough to study for my TEFL certificate (although I need this for my job!!), research for my PhD project proposal, spring-clean my flat, heck, some days I don’t even get enough time to eat properly. I’ve been averaging one meal a day and a bowl of cereal to hold me over. So everything non-essential, and as much as it pains me, this blog falls into that category, is currently only possible if I got a breather from the rest of it all. I need a holiday – the last time I was able to just relax for a week was in 2012 – and I’m reaching the end of my tether. My hypnotherapy is going really well, but at the same time, I’m getting a lot more emotionally exhausted. I’m hoping the sunshine and warm weather will help with that. I’m a summer child, and I’m glad the winter is finally over. I need to get out of here, and away from all this responsibility I’ve been lumped with, especially as I never get any thanks or appreciation in turn. I just want to be alone, somewhere quiet and warm, maybe walk through nature or sit in a cosy but warm spot in a forest and read. I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before, explore a new place, be myself again and recharge my batteries because I’m running on empty.

Anyway. On to books: On last count, I now own more than 850 books. I have just finished the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab and I can’t recommend it enough. Instant new favourites! I even got the hardcover versions signed and she personalised them to me! And yes, I’m well aware, that’s book collector gold!

Have you read them? If you have, I’d love to talk to you about dream casting those characers. Especially in light of Gerard Butler having bought the rights and adapting it for film.

Anyway, I think that’s it from me for now. Thank you for having coffee with me and giving me a chance to sit back and soak up the sun for a few minutes! Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers, I’m sure they’d also love to see you!

Same time, next week?

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, is a gripping read full of magic and mystery.

There are four distinct worlds, some full of magic, some almost devoid of it – and the only thing these worlds have in common is London. Once upon a time, travel between the four worlds was possible and frequent. These days, only the Antari – a rare people born with magic in their blood – can travel between the worlds and serve as liaisons and messengers for the rulers of the four Londons.

The world-building in this novel is extraordinary. At first glance the idea seems simple, four versions of the city of London stacked on top of each other. But each comes with its own culture, customs, names for landmarks and language, which makes the set up really quite complex.

Black London was the most powerful of all, brimming with magic until it turned destructive and its portals were closed off. White London has barely any resources left, including magic, making its sibling rulers brutal and power-hungry in a cold world. Grey London is mundane and its magic is scarce. It is also the most recognisable London for its resemblance of the real London in our world. And then there is Red London, a warm place in which magic is still abundant and which is home to an Antari named Kell, who moves between the worlds in his official capacity as royal messenger – as well as for his side-business as a smuggler of other-worldly trinkets.

Until he unknowingly takes a token across the worlds that contains a magic not seen in centuries and which could destroy everything he has ever known. His troubles really start, however, when the street-smart Grey London thief Delilah Bard decides to pick the wrong pocket.

Lila is a delightful character. She’s savvy and fierce, stubborn, adventurous, longing for freedom, and doesn’t mind giving the men-folk hell. So tagging along with a traveller like Kell is her ticket to the world. Lila’s perspective proves ideal for the reader, as Lila is just as wide-eyed and experiencing new worlds that are just as unknown to her as they are to the audience. The characters of Kell and Lila are incredibly layered and polar opposites of each other. Combined with the amazing magical worlds they inhabit, they make for a very compelling and intriguing story.

A Darker Shade of Magic is a story that draws you in immediately and keeps you under its spell.

 

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” – Delilah Bard

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN:  978-1783295401