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Mini Book Reviews

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – This was such a great read! I loved Fitz and his ability to connect with animals. My heart broke for poor Fitz in this story, as he was the victim of shitty circumstance after shitty circumstance, simply for being born a bastard. His courage and perseverance were admirable given all the difficulties he faced. Burrich, Chade, King Shrewd, and the Princes are all fascinating characters and play a major role in Fitz’s character development throughout the story. At the same time, I hated every single one of them for worrying more about the poor kid’s loyalty than his well-being. I look forward to reading the other books in the series to see what happens to Fitz and see how his skills develop.

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare – I didn’t love this book as much as the first three books in the series. There was nothing bad about it, but compared to the previous books it felt a little slower. One thing that I did love was that more of the story was told from Simon’s point of view. He’s such a great character! As predicted, there was lots of drama/tension between Clary and Jace, which is starting to get a little old. I understood the need for it in the other books, but now it’s just starting to feel redundant. I did like the introduction of new characters in the story and the bigger role that some of the minor characters played.

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

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My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away.

This book was not what I expected it to be but I still enjoyed it.

Anouk is a sweet, innocent beastie, serving the witch who created her, Mada Vittora. Having only been in human form for one year, Anouk is rather naive to the ways of the world and the ways of magic. For this reason, I found her to be rather charming, especially in contrast to her companions who had already become hardened and jaded by life. I liked the other beasties and the way they all looked out for each other. Beau was the only one who I didn’t love. While his affection for Anouk was nice, sometimes it was a bit overkill.

I like the magic hierarchy that Shepherd created in the story. Even more so, I like that it was blended into modern Parisian society. The Haute were pretty awful, with all their politics and scheming. The Goblins were spectacular, with their glitter, high fashion, and penchant for partying. The diversity between all the different groups balanced out nicely.

Before purchasing this book, I didn’t realize that it’s loosely based around Cinderella. Even once I figured that out, it never really felt like a re-telling. There is enough substance and difference here that it becomes it’s own fairy tale.

At the end, magic and mayhem aside, it’s a story of  a girl and her friends who want nothing more than to live normal human lives. Who can’t relate to that?

 

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Friday, at last! You know what that means. Monday is just around the corner. 😛 I mean…time for another First Impression Friday! (For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant to keep reading this series. I enjoyed the first three books so much that I was afraid if I kept reading them they might not be as good and then the whole series would become tainted. Obviously, I got over it, because I started reading City of Fallen Angels, , the fourth book in the series, this week.

So far, I’m glad I picked it up. There’s more Simon in this book! I love Simon, the nerdy vampire. Simon’s life sounds like it’s about to get even more complicated in this book. He’s been given an interesting proposition to help take down Raphael, which sounds great in theory, but I’m sure all of it is going to come with heavy consequences. I’m guessing that Camille isn’t really working for herself and that somehow she’s trying to trick Simon into joining the New York vampire coven.

It’s weird to have Clary and Jace actually in a relationship, rather than just fighting and/or pining for each other. Given their history, I am one hundred percent certain that their relationship is going to have a lot of ups and downs. I expect Jace to continue struggling with his identity and major daddy issues. Meanwhile, Clary is going to be all “Omg, what if he hates me?!”, in typical teenage fashion. 😛

I have no idea what’s going to happen as far as major plot points are concerned. The blurb on the back says that Shadowhunters are being killed. I suspect it has to do something with Sebastian. I don’t think he really died in the last book. Nobody ever seems to just die one time in this series.

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Young Adult

Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

You guys, the next time I put off reading a series for a long time, please kick me in the ass and remind me of this post. I freaking love the Mortal Instruments and I don’t care who knows it. So there.

After being super impressed by the second book, City of Ashes, I couldn’t wait to see where the series headed. Honestly, even though I had some guesses, I did not anticipate even half of the plot twists and events that transpired in City of Glass. (Hence the reason for my post earlier this week.) Cassandra Clare sure knows how to take a story and turn it upside down on its head.

I loved the way each of the characters grew and developed over the course of the three books that I’ve read. Jace, in particular, matured quite a bit and it’s made his character way more likable. I had no idea what was going to become of Clary and Jace’s “tricky” relationship, but I like the way it’s panning out. I’ll admit, I was really disappointed that Clary and Simon didn’t end up together in the last book, but now I see why it was for the best. Speaking of Simon, I freaking love vampire Simon. I just love his personality and how he’s becoming so much more confident in himself now that he’s one of the Night Children.

It was interesting to finally learn a little more about Clary’s mother and see how learning the truth about her past has affected their relationship. She wasn’t in much of the story, but from the glimpses we got of her, I’d say she seems pretty cool. I’m looking forward to learning more about her in the other books.

Enough of the positives, let’s talk about the negatives.

There weren’t any.

I must get my hands on the next book.

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Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

After finishing City of Bones, I couldn’t wait to pick up the second book to see how the series holds up. I feel like there was potential for the story to become overly cliche, but, thus far, it hasn’t happened.

Everything is a little more complicated the second time around. The character’s feelings and emotions are all over the place, loyalties change, fingers are pointed, and there are demons everywhere. It doesn’t take long for the action and drama to pick up in this book.

I really liked some of the character development in this story, especially for Jace. Jace was a bit of douche in the first book, which made him hard to like. Jace deals with some pretty heavy stuff, after finding out that Valentine is his father. He’s been torn in a lot of different directions and for that reason I found it a little easier to sympathize with him. I still find the whole situation between he and Clary pretty weird, but, hey, I’m not judging.

Simon’s character also went through some major changes. I don’t want to reveal too much and spoil it for anyone else, but I will just say that I guessed it was coming. I’m still not sure if I like this new development, but it could definitely make the story more interesting later on. I really wish Clary would stop being a turd and realizes how perfect Simon is for her. Teenagers. Le sigh.

Overall, this was a great sequel. There’s still so much that can happen in the rest of the series. (I’m still waiting for the Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires, and faeries to finally join forces.) The cliffhanger at the very end has me eager to start the next book ASAP.

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! Last week I talked about a book I was reading for the new book club I joined. I hate to admit this, but I gave up on that book. I hate quitting a book, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Oh well. C’est la vie! This week’s book is more up  my alley.

(For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

After finishing the first book, City of Bones, I knew I had to keep reading the series to see where it goes. So far, this one is just as good as the first book!

There are demons and dark forces afoot! Clary is still conflicted in her feelings towards both Jace and Simon, Jace gets thrown in prison, and there are dead bodies everywhere. And it’s only the beginning! There’s never a dull moment with these books, which is why I got sucked in so easily.

I love how all the relationships in this book have become even more complicated, now that Valentine is back and trying to start a war against the Clave. Suddenly, everyone is pitted against each other. The characters can’t decide who’s really a friend and who’s a foe. Even family is pitted against each other. It’s been keeping me guessing since the very first chapter and, to be honest, I have no idea which side everyone will end up on.

Clary and Simon’s relationship is still struggling, which kinda makes me sad, because I think Simon is great. Obviously things will only get more complicated now that Simon is a vampire (which I totally saw coming, by the way). I hope he and Clary end up being more “official” anyway, because Jace is a turd. As much as I would like for Clary and Simon to end up together, I predict that she will keep hurting him and push him away. *sigh*

I predict that Valentine is going to keep killing Downworlders and recruiting demons to his cause. Eventually, they – the Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires, and faeries – will realize that they have to join forces if they’re going to stop him. I don’t expect war to break out yet,  but I think they will start teaming up by the end of the book.

I don’t know where this story is going, but shit’s going to get messy.

 

Books · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

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Well, still no hurricane yet. It’s expected to make landfall in Charlotte sometime later today. I’m more than ready for it to be over already because I feel like everybody’s been panicking for way too long now. If any of you are in the path of the hurricane, I hope you’re all staying safe!

Since it’s Friday, you know what that means. It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family’s blessing to pursue the career he’s always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny’s lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can’t stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.

When Danny digs deeper into his parents’ past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.

If you’re a regular follower mine you’re probably thinking “Who are you and what have you done with Kiersten?” I hardly ever read contemporary fiction, of the adult or YA genre. The only reason I picked this book up was because it’s for the book club I joined. This is my first attempt at ever joining a book club. I’ve thought about it before but my anxiety has always held me back. It’s a YA book club. When I joined I was hoping it would be more fantasy based. I’m really not sure what it’s going to turn into going forward because the club is new and this is only the first pick.

I hate to say it, but nothing about this book is grabbing me. I’m trying to give it a chance, but so far I’m finding it very slow. The main character, Danny, is relatable with his insecurities and his family drama. I like Danny, but I don’t love him. All of the characters, thus far, are just okay. I don’t feel very connected to them or to the story, in general.

Honestly, I can’t decide if I even want to finish this book. There are some interesting topics discussed, which I appreciate, but I still can’t get past the fact that I’m bored with it. If I don’t read it, however, then I pretty much fail at my first book club attempt.

Alas, I don’t know what to do.