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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Book Review – Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank

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TITLE: Thirst (The Energy Vampires #1)
AUTHOR: Jacquelyn Frank
PAGES:  279 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 17th 2017
PUBLISHER: Loveswept
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Adult, Vampires

MY RATING: 3/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

Our story begins when Renee Holden, a tough cop in New York City, is called to investigate a murder. The only witness claims that the perpetrator is a vampire and when she explains the body they find two puncture marks on the victim’s neck. Slightly disturbed by this information Renee goes with the angle of someone who is a delusional vampire-fanatic who pretends he actually is one. Because vampires don’t exist.

But of course they do because Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire who feeds off of human’s energy instead of blood and he is currently stalking Renee. He knows who killed the victim and he has to make sure Renee is safe and also doesn’t come to discover that vampires are real as she investigates the murder.

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MY REVIEW:

I just could not connect with this novel. I’ll admit that I had to skim read quite a bit near the end just to finish. The dialogue between Renee and Rafe was so stilted and unnatural. At first I thought maybe the author was trying to make Rafe sound formal because he was so old but it just did not work for me. And Renee didn’t seem to stay true to her character many times in the novel. We establish right away that she is a tough detective that has a strong attitude but then she does so many shy and fearful things later on in the novel that had me scratching my head.

The romance was sweet once they got to know each other better but the insta-love at the end was a bit much. Yes, they had been through a lot together in such a short period of time but it was still plain ol’ insta-love.

The crime/mystery aspect to the story was fairly interesting but the origin story had me rolling my eyes. It is definitely original but it was quite silly. Even the whole idea of e-vamps that don’t actually drink blood, but drink energy, was a bit much for me.

Overall it was an okay read but I won’t be continuing the series. I normally love paranormal/urban-fantasy novel so I would still recommend this to other that love that genre but this just did not work for me!

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Book Review – Mind Games

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TITLE: Mind Games
AUTHOR: Kiersten White
PAGES: 237
PUBLISHED: Feburary 19th 2013
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy.
MY RATING:

Rating - 3 Bird

SUMMARY:

This is a story about two sister assassins. Fia is impulsive but follows her gut. Her sister Annie is blind but born with a strong mind that plagues her with visions of the future. Being trapped in a school that uses them for their extraordinary powers, Annie and Fia are trying to find a balance. They use their abilities for espionage while trying to escape their life of servitude for the school, but disobeying orders comes with a heavy price…

An explosive psychological thriller with twists and turns – these sisters will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last page.

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MY REVIEW:

This was a fairly interesting read! Despite all the flaws, such as the strange writing which was hard to follow at some points (the constant stream of consciousness wasn’t written as well as Shatter Me) and the two point of views (Annie and Fia’s) that I had a hard time telling apart, there was something about it that drew me in. I really liked Fia, she was a bit whiny but I felt like it was justified. and I really liked how the main male lead, James was written, I think that really made the story for me. He was the main love interest throughout the story but he was hard to trust, I really don’t know if he loved Fia, maybe he thought he did but doesn’t really know what love is? It was definitely interesting to read, he reminded me a bit of Warner from Shatter Me though.

In regards to the constrain steam of consciousness this is a sample of the writing:

I have no idea. My plans changed about five minutes ago.” I look over my shoulder to see the men, three (tap tap tap – I hate the number three), thick shoulders, one gun between them based on the way the guy in the middle is walking (that was a mistake, they should all have guns – guess they’ll find out) matching our pace and getting closer.

Was that a little bit awkward? You get use to it after the first few chapters but it is definitely strange.

I have read the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White which was pretty good too (I will be adding my reviews soon) I think I’ll keep reading this series and whatever else White offers!

Review – Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

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TITLE: Angelfall
AUTHOR: Susan Ee
PAGES: 283
PUBLISHED: May 21st 2011
PUBLISHER: Feral Dream
GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.
MY RATING:

Rating - 5 Bird

SUMMARY:

The world is in shambles after an angel apocalypse. Gangs rule the streets while avenging angels rule the sky. Penryn is just trying to survive, as well as watch out for her disabled sister and crazy mother. When her sister is taken hostage by a group of warrior angels, Penryn makes an unlikely alliance with the enemy, a wingless angel named Raffe. He is anything put grateful for being saved by a half-starved girl but realizes he needs her in order to navigate this world.

Together they scour California, each in search of different things, but bonding on the need to survive. When they are tested and put at risk will their uneasy alliance grow to something more? Or are humans and angels never meant to be together?

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MY REVIEW:

This might be my favourite read of 2013! I devoured this book in only a few hours, I couldn’t stop reading! The novel starts off fast-paced, as we follow Penryn, her disabled sister and her psychotic mother as they scavenge in a strange new world. Earth has been destroyed by angels, not the sweet ones you’ve always known, but evil avenging angels who stop at nothing to destroy humans (even though we made the first shot by killing their leader Gabriel). When Penryn sees a single feather floating in the sky, suddenly everything changes, and with an unlikely partnership with the enemy begins she fights to get her sister back.

Penryn was amazingly strong and badass (just how I like ’em!) but also sweet and funny as hell at times. Raffe was one of the best male leads I have read in a looong time and Obi is certainly going to be interesting in the next novel, where I assume he will play a bigger role. This was a perfect balance of action, romance, creepiness (cannibals, scorpion-demons, bat wings oh my!) and post-apocalyptic drama. I hope more people get to read this novel, it is just fantastic! And as a side note, this came from an indie author and had no grammatical errors, run on sentences etc. It was damn near perfect, so those who have sworn off reading self-pub should still give this a try!

Book Review – Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

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TITLE: Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1)
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
PAGES:  422 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: August 25th 2009
PUBLISHER: Vintage Canada
GENRE: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Shapeshifters (Werewolves)

MY RATING: 5/5 birds

Rating - 5 Bird

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MY REVIEW & SUMMARY

This is the first novel in the Women of the Otherworld series. The story begins when Elena, the first werewolf in a generation, is trying to adjust to life without her pack. She was betrayed by her soul-mate Clay and tries to hide as a normal human when she meets Phillip, whom she lives with. Philip wants to marry Elena but she is hiding half of her life from him. To make matters worse Clay comes back looking for Elena and wants to bring her back to the pack which tears Elena’s two worlds apart.

I love Kelley Armstrong. I read her Darkest Powers series first and absolutely loved it. Even though it had some flaws, I could tell she was an excellent writer and I sought out the Darkness Rising series after. Again, I was amazed by her writing skills, relate-able characters and interesting plots. I am very excited for The Calling to come out! I also love a Canadian author that actually sets their novels Canada as well, not just some fictional town in the US or in typical Seattle.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get into the Women of the Otherworld series but now that I have read Bitten I am (dare I say it) smitten? haha but honestly, this book was everything I expected from Kelley and more. I already have Stolen sitting in my pile of library books, just waiting in line to be read, and I cannot wait to dive into this series!

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Review – Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

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TITLE: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PAGES: 332
PUBLISHED: August 16th 2007
PUBLISHER: Razorbill
GENRE: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Supernatural.
MY RATING:

Rating - 4 Bird

SUMMARY:

Dhampir are half-vampire/half-humans who are trained to protect the Moroi, pure blood vampires. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, sworn to protect her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Princess, at all cost. The novel starts off with Rose and Lissa on the run, living in the normal world, until they are dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy where Rose must endure Dhampir training in order to protect Lissa. Strigoi, the undead and evil vampires hunt all Moroi, especially those of royalty like Lissa.

Rose must learn when to fight, and when to surrender, as she tries to keep Lissa safe as well as her heart.

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MY REVIEW:

I read this book in one sitting! This is one of those books that I think teens (or 22 year olds like me haha) could really get into even if they aren’t interested in paranormal YA. The romance was perfectly written… forbidden love between Rose, a Dhampir and her best friend Lissa’s guardian Dimitri, who is 7 years older than her. He is technically not allowed to have any interest in her due to the fact that they must guard Lissa, not each other from the Strigoi, who are undead and evil vampires bent on killing all Moroi to gain eternal life.

This was fairly heavy on the romance  but I enjoyed it because it was well written and engaging. The relationship between Lissa, and a special Moroi named Christian was expected from the first few pages when he was introduced, but it was still very sweet, the two ‘outsiders’ finally getting together.

And Victor, the antagonist of the story, didn’t feel like the bad guy at all. Which wasn’t a bad thing. Although he was doing terrible things towards the characters, he ultimately wants to help the Dhampir and Moroi fight the Strigoi. I am very curious as to what happens in the next book, where Victor’s self-righteousness takes him, what happens between Rose and Dimitri and does Lissa’s special powers get her into any more trouble?