Book Review – Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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TITLE: 
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PAGES:  698 pages
PUBLISHED: March 8th 2016
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Urban Paranormal/Fantasy, Romance, Mystery

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

The story begins with our heroine Emma Carstairs, who we met in the final book of the Mortal Instruments, City of Heavenly Fire. Clary Fairchild befriends her after seeing her lose both her parents and Emma becomes parabatai with Julian Blackthorn so they can stay together. Julian (or Jules) is Emma’s best friend and in the Mortal Instruments we get a sense that Emma isn’t 100% committed to becoming parabatai with Jules, but does it so that she isn’t sent away from him and the Blackthorns, who’ve become a family to her. This novel contuines with the lives of Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family and what became of them.

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MY REVIEW:

Oh yes. I read this monster of a book in one day. You know when you read a book and get so into it that hours later you think to yourself “have I eaten?”

That was me. I completely skipped lunch and nibbled on some biscuits because I could not put this down!

In my opinion, you need to have read both The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments before reading this. I know other review’s say you don’t but I really think you miss out on a lot. Not just little references but whole characters and story lines that you don’t know about.

I did not read the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series and was a bit spoiled so that was a little annoying (my own fault) but I don’t think those novellas or The Bane Chronicles are 100% necessary to read before this. Also my review below is going to contain spoilers but I will try to put the big stuff in a hidden spoiler tag.

“You’ll fix me because we’re parabatai. We’re forever”

I really did not know what to expect with this but the writing reminded me a lot more of The Infernal Devices than The Mortal Instruments. This follows the story of Emma Carstairs, who we met in the final book of the Mortal Instruments, City of Heavenly Fire. Clary befriends her after seeing her lose both her parents and Emma becomes parabatai with Julian Blackthorn so they can stay together. Julian (or Jules) is Emma’s best friend and in the Mortal Instruments we get a sense that Emma isn’t 100% committed to becoming parabatai with Jules, but does it so that she isn’t sent away from him and the Blackthorns, who’ve become a family to her.

I love Emma! She is the distant relative of Jem Carstairs who makes an appearance, along with Tessa Grey in this! I loved the throwbacks and Emma is nothing like Clary or Tessa. If anything she is a bit like Jase but without the cockiness. She trains extremely hard and is a top Shadowhunter. She is definitely not a brat like Clary could be, or weak like Tessa. You have to really admire how much Emma is will to sacrifice for those she loves.

I really love Julian as well. He shoulders so much responsibility, I have no idea how he doesn’t just explode from it all. Emma seems to be his only safe place, the only thing that helps him, but their love is illegal. We find out that parabatai’s are forbidden by Law to never romantically fall in love with each other. If they do fall in love and the Clave finds out the punishment is extremely fierce. For almost all of the book we are not told why that it is a law, until Jem tells Emma what the consequence is.

As for the other new characters, I absolutely love Mark who is a half-faerie half-shadowhunter and was taken by The Hunt in the final book of the Mortal Instruments. He almost felt like the main character to me, although I really don’t think he and Emma should ever actually get together. Emma is clearly made for Jules. We find out Mark’s fate in the faerie realm and how the Clave essentially broke their promise to help get him back to the Blackthorns family. I really felt his love with Kieran, even though he betrays him, but I really hope they get their happily-ever-after. I was very confused with his feelings towards Cristina and I really can’t see him being with her at all. I didn’t feel any real spark between them. Sure, they found each other attractive but I think Cristina hesitated to sleep with him because she is still in love with Perfect Diego, and Mark is still in love with Kieran.

Tiberius (or Ty) and Livvy were adorable, as were all the Blackthorn kids, but I kind of wish, especially at age fifteen they realised how much of a burden they were placing on Julian. At age fifteen I feel like they could take their own share of the load and do the cooking/cleaning and helping take care of the youngest one (Tavvy), instead of leaving everything for Julian.

Every scene with Clary and Jace was so lovely. Even Magnus and Alec showed their pretty little faces at one point and Izzy and Simon were referenced to. Even though I literally just finished the final book of the Mortal Instrument series (so late, I know) this was a nice little nostalgic touch.

I also love Cristina and Perfect Diego. They definitely seemed like side-characters and we didn’t get to know them as much as the other new people but I loved how tough Cristina is and her friendship with Emma was very sweet. I really hope we get to see her character grow in the next book. I am not sure if I completely trust Perfect Diego yet, even though Cristina seems to have forgiven him by the end. I think that although Cristina didn’t hear him say anything to his brother, it doesn’t mean that he is innocent. I am curious to see if his brother is going to make an appearance in the next book.

And that ending with Kit!! Did not see that one coming and I am really curious as to where his character is going! I can forsee more Jace in the next book! Yay!

I know Cassandra Clare gets a lot of hate (whether it’s justified or not is completely your opinion) but one thing I really love about her writing, beyond being a very good storyteller, is that she pushes the boundaries of what is “normal” in her novels. I felt like this when she had Magnus and Alec in the Mortal Instruments enter a relationship. Even if you don’t like her books, you have to admit that the Mortal Instruments is a very popular series that has been turned into both a movie and TV series. Having a prominent gay couple is really cool to see and I love that people embrace these characters. In this novel I thought it was amazing that Cassandra Clare included not only Hispanic characters (Cristina and Perfect Diego are from Mexico), mentioned that (view spoiler), Mark is bixseual, but also that Ty has autism. Clare handled Ty with perfection. He wasn’t stereotyped and he was loved by his entire family for being exactly who he is.

Overall this is such a great start to the series. I am curious if this is going to be a trilogy or turn into The Mortal Instruments and have many books. I think Cassandra Clare has grown so much as an author and I really feel like this is already better than the Mortal Instrument series. It’s the perfect blend of everything we know like demons, shadowhunters, warlocks, faeries, parabatai, but with family bonds, crazy action and an epic forbidden romance.

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Book Review – City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

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TITLE: 
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PAGES:  725 pages
PUBLISHED: May 27th 2014
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban-Fantasy

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

This is the long-awaited and final epic instalment of the Mortal Instruments series, which first began with City of Bones, published in 2007.

Sebastian Morgenstern, Clary’s brother, is using the Infernal Cup to create evil Shadowhunters, known as his Endarkened army, that do his bidding and threatened the lives of everyone around him. No one can stop Sebastian and when the ultimate betrayal is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon and Alex must find a way to stop Sebastian before he tears the world apart.

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MY REVIEW

In the words of Frodo Baggins “It’s done. It’s over.”

I put off reading the final book of the Mortal Instrument series because I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing series and as time went on I forgot some of the characters and the plot of the previous books. Although I find the TV series is pretty bad, watching a few episodes actually helped me remember a lot. It is always difficult when a series spans five years to recall every detail and character but Cassandra Clare did a great job of drawing me back in even after all this time.

I still think the third book is the best. I think this book was way too long and I admit I was bored at a few points. I also didn’t like how everything with Sebastian turned out. I was expecting more, you know? And it was so disappointing that even after everything the Clave had been through they literally did not learn a single thing. Peace is obviously not going to last very long in this world…

And Simon’s fate was really heartbreaking but I am really looking forward to reading Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy and also Emma’s story in Lady Midnight.

Overall this has truly been a great series! I definitely will re-read it at some point (at least the first three) and although I don’t think this was the strongest ending, especially if you compare it to The Infernal Devices ending, it is a fantastic series and I would recommend to anyone!

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Top Ten Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would

birds-2Each week The Broke and Bookish hosts a Top Ten Tuesday based on a chosen literary topic. This week’s topic is Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would. I decided to go with books that I loved more than I thought I would. I will focus on books that I felt like, after reading many reviews and looking at the goodreads rating, that I liked more than other readers.

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10 Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would

1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne –This book had quite a lot of hype surrounding it and I really wasn’t sure if it was going to be my cup of tea because chick-lit can be very hit-or-miss with me. Usually it is too cheesy but this was perfect. You can read my in-depth review by clicking here.

2. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West – Again, this had a ton of hype and Kasie West has quite a following. I thought this was very cute and liked it a lot more than I thought I would. You can read my in-depth review by clicking here.

3. Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This series really blew me away and I thought it would be like any other YA paranormal book but it was so well done. After reading many disappointing YA alien books I wasn’t sure if I would like it but it is an amazing series.

4. Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) by Susan Ee – I normally stay away from YA angel novels because I have just read so many bad ones in the past but this completely exceeded my expectations! You can read my in-depth review by clicking here.

5. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare – This book has so much when it was first released that I was really worried I wouldn’t like it. Many people were comparing it to Harry Potter and Twilight so I really did not know what to expect. I am so glad I decided to pick it up though as it is one of my favourite series!

6. Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard – I have a serious love for anything in the ‘space opera’ genre, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it but the premise wasn’t really that enticing to me. I am so glad I picked it up because it was really a great novel.

7. Cut & Run (Cut & Run, #1) by Abigail Roux & Madeline Urban – Ty and Zane have become one of my favourite m-m romance couples and I seriously love this entire series. I was really hesitant to pick it up because I normally don’t go for mystery and crime novels but this book was amazing.

8. Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy – This came randomly from the library one day and the premise looked interesting but I really didn’t know what to expect. I am so glad I decided to read it because it has become one of my favourite books.

9. For Finlay by J. Nathan – I received this book from NetGalley and while the premise looked interesting enough for me to request it I wasn’t really expecting much from this New Adult novel. It was way better than expected and you can read my in-depth review by clicking here.

10. The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole – I went into this thinking it would just another fun paranormal-romance read but I actually got really sucked into the world and stories that Cole created. Although the romance was very well done (and very steamy!) the plot also grabbed my interested and this series has been very good.

What are some book that surprised you? Anything you absolutely feel in love with or dislike with a passion? Tell me below in the comments!

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Top Ten Romance Tropes – Enemies to Lovers

Image result for heart iconEach week The Broke and Bookish hosts a Top Ten Tuesday based on a chosen literary topic. This week’s topic is all about romance tropes/types! I decided to chose one of my guilty pleasures, the enemies to lover trope. Really nothing is better than having two characters butt heads with witty dialogue and a lot of sexual tension before they both realise how stubborn they’ve been all along and fall madly in love. *sigh*

It is, of course, Valentines Day today which is a holiday I have never really understood. Who wants to buy chocolate or flowers that are overpriced, or try to book reservations months in advanced at some overcrowded restaurant? This Valentines Day I plan on cuddling with my fiance on the couch in a mountain of blankets, eat cookies I baked and watch ‘You’ve Got Mail’.

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1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne –I feel like I must start this list off with naming the biggest enemies to lovers book of 2016. The chemistry between Lucy and Josh in this book is amazing.Their highly witty hateful banter becomes even better sexual tension that was so much fun to read. I actually really enjoyed their arguing in the beginning. I know some other readers saw it as childish, and it was, but it was also so hilarious. I loved all of Lucy’s jabs where she insinuates that Josh is the devil, and lives “close to earth’s core”.

2. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West – I don’t want to give too much away, as the love interest is supposed to be somewhat of a secret when you begin this book but you can read my review here.

3. Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This was one of those books where you almost can’t explain why you love the male love interest so much. Daemon is a huge jerk towards Katy who already has a tough go of life after being forced to move to a new town after her dad dies. Daemon is just so overly confident and egotistical but somehow makes it sexy and you want him and Katy to get together so badly!

4. Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) by Susan Ee – When Penryn sees a single feather floating in the sky, suddenly everything changes, and with an unlikely partnership with the enemy she fights to get her sister back.  Angels are regarded as the enemy in this dystopian book and Raffe is no exception. Although this is YA and nothing steamy happens I loved reading about Penryn and Raffe’s uneasy relationship. You can read my full review here.

5. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare – Jace Wayland…oh boy. I think he wins the award for the most egotistical and overly confident character in my list. Even more than Daemon! The love/hate relationship between Jace and Clary was so fun to read.

6. Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard – I have a very special place in my heart for ‘space opera-sci-fi-romance’ type books. Add in the enemies to lovers trope and you have a winner. I was really expecting the whole “I fell in love with my kidnapper” Stockholm-syndrome type formula but it didn’t fall into the typical traps you would expect.

7. Cut & Run (Cut & Run, #1) by Abigail Roux & Madeline Urban – Ty and Zane may be my new favourite couple of 2o17! There is definitely no ‘insta-love’ in this novel as Ty and Zane spend most of it arguing and fighting (both verbal and physical!). I have never read a more convincing novel of two characters that absolutely loathe each other and somehow that turns into something more.

8. Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy – The premise of this was just so good. Edie finds herself in another form of servitude when she is “attached” to Finn, meaning that if she dies, he dies. And if she gets too far away from him, he dies as well. He is her bodyguard from then on, protecting her from any attacks, as she is highly sought after for her special ability as a “cyberteck” who manipulates technology with her hands and can create “life” on inhabitable planets.

The romance was a nice slow build. If you are expecting sexy times right away you will be disappointed but the wait is SO worth it. I kept picturing Finn as Tom Hardy from the Mad Max movie. Stoic, calm, with a violent dark inner turmoil, but also a surprisingly sweet side that we see with his interactions with Edie as their relationship builds.

9. For Finlay by J. Nathan – Finlay lived her entire life in the shadow of her older brother, football star Cole Thatcher. When her brother suddenly dies she tries to live his dreams. She moves to a new town to work for the Alabama college football team which means working beside the new quarterback Caden Brooks. She has reasons to hate him for taking her brother’s place on the Alabama team but soon hatred turns into sexual tension as neither of them can deny the strong attraction they feel. You can read the rest of my review here.

10. The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole – Ending the list off with this a romantica novel, and holey-moley guacamole this is not for the faint-hearted! The sex scenes are REALLY steamy. Like, really really steamy haha.

What are some of your favourite enemies to lovers books? Or do you have a different romance trope that you absolutely love? Tell me below in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Each week The Broke and Bookish  hosts a Top Ten Tuesday based on a chosen literary topic. This weeks topic is Top Ten best and worst movie adaptions! So here is my list without further ado broken up into the best 5 and the worst 5.

The Best:

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1. The Lord of the Rings series (and the Hobbit too!) – I read these books when I was 13 and I never thought it could or would ever be turned into a movie. There was a really crappy animated version that I watched when I was even younger which is just awful. Peter Jackson took a richly complex and wonderful story and really made it entertaining for the first time! I have to admit that my boyfriend and I watch TTT and RoTK a lot. Maybe too much?
And I really enjoyed the Hobbit. I was really excited when it came out but I was worried how such a short children’s book could be spread into a 3 hour, 3 part movie series but I loved how Jackson added a lot of additional information, some which came from the history of middle earth, another series finished by Tolkien’s son. I am a total nerd for all things LoTR, I can still remember being in junior high and watching the movie 5 times in the theatres! That is 15 hours happily spent 🙂

2. The Hunger Games – I was pleasantly surprised at how good the adaptation was. Sure, it wasn’t perfect and there were a few big flaws (such as missing characters and important scenes) but overall I enjoyed it and I am excited for Catching Fire to come out!

3. Pride and Prejudice – this was another surprise for me because this book is such a classic but Matthew MacFadyen plays the most perfect Darcy. Keira Knightley also seems a perfect cast for Elizabeth and I think great characters is the most important element for this adaptation to work. I even like the TV series with Colin Firth but the 2005 adaptation

4. The Harry Potter series – I think individually the movies have a lot of flaws but I think each movie got better and better and the final 2 were done extremely well. Yes, there was  a lot left out and changes made that didn’t really work but overall I found the whole movie series enjoyable and who doesn’t love Emma Watson? Hermione was played out perfectly in my eyes!

5. Fight Club This isn’t a YA book (far from it) but I thought the movie was very entertaining even though it didn’t stick too closely to the novel. Palahniuk is a hard writer to follow, I was surprised when I first found out they were making this novel into a movie but it was really well done. They couldn’t have picked a better cast with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

The Worst:

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6. Beastly – I didn’t have high expectations for this one but it was truely awful. The whole premise was ruined because the main character wasn’t even a beast! He just had some tattoos on his face. Ooooh scary!

7. Beautiful Creatures – This is a little unfair because I barely gave this movie a chance. I did not like the book so did I expect the movie to be any better? In one word: No. No it was not better.

8. Twilight – I was one of those people who really did not enjoy the movie. But common, Edward looked like a sparkly princess and Kristen Steward had zero emotion.

I can’t think of 2 more but notice a theme here? Must stay away from all black covers when watching book adaptations!

Here are also some novels they are planning on making into movies in the next few years:
The ones with * at the end are ones I am excited for

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare *

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan *

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Vampire Academy by Rachelle Mead *

The Maze Runner by James Dashner *

Divergent by Veronica Roth *

and others that are in development (which I think means they could not be made) are Shiver, Fallen, Uglies, Before I Fall, and The Raven Boys.

Think any of the books above that are being made into movies are a mistake or are you excited?
What are your best and worst adaptations?