Book Reviews

Lord of Shadows Review (Spoiler-Free)

Hey BookNerds!

Ok, a quick bit of housekeeping. I know I haven’t written in ages. In the beginning it was due to working 60-80hr work weeks EVERY DAMN WEEK. Then, 2 months ago, my father passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. He was an English teacher and my main inspiration for being a reader my whole life. So, as is not surprising, reading completely uninterested me for a long while. My best friend though wouldn’t let me not try though, thanks Thumper! 😉 Even if it was something as small as reading a chapter of a book to him, he kept me reading. Then life calmed down enough, who only works 40hrs a week!? My first book really back into the fray was Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Perf! Now that the housekeeping is over, into the review 🙂

BookStats ~

Birthday: May 23, 2017

Author: Cassandra Clare

Page Count: 699

“Emma, everyone’s afraid of something.” Julian moved slightly closer; she felt his shoulder bump hers. “We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean that is you don’t feel anything.”

Maybe it was the mental state I was in when I started this book, but I clung to these characters like they were my own life blood. I so appreciated that Clare wrote from varying character perspectives even more in this installment. Because of that I really felt as though my connection to the characters was more intense. Which led to being even more heartbroken or pumped up at varying points in the book.

Let’s talk about the character development. First off, I love how diverse Clare’s writing tends to be. I know the characters themselves tend to be mostly white people, but I love that so many of them are going through different things in life. We have always seen LGB characters since City of Bones. But in this book we get an amazing scene where one character reveals themselves to another about the journey being transgender. Maybe it was just me being blind, but I SO didn’t see that coming. And I loved every word of it. This was, honestly, one of my favorite scenes in the whole book. I love how Clare is inclusive with so many characters. It makes it seem so much more like real life. Although maybe growing up in the Bay Area means my concept of normal life is a bit skewed ;).

Ty’s autism, which seemed pretty obvious in the first book, is brought up even more in this one. I kind of love how another character from the mundane world was so flabbergasted that none of the Shadowhunters had even considered that was his thing. It really brought to light the whole concept of Shadowhunters rejecting mundane medicine thing. Things like mental illnesses or learning disabilities aren’t even something they can fathom. Which is bizarre to this girl from the mundane world.

Even though these are the two I chose to highlight, it doesn’t mean everyone else’s characters didn’t also grow. It was amazing to see Mark adapt to the world even more so, and watch Emma go through her own sense of closure vs non closure after the events of Lady Midnight. It’s not as cut and dry as she had hoped. Christina handles some tough hurdles beautifully and, honestly, seems to have some hot action coming her way potentially ;).

Plot Wise: Luckily this book didn’t fall into the Second Book Slump for me. Woohoo! When it comes to trilogies (books or movies) the second tends to always be my least favorite. It tends to be full of unnecessary expositions and drags. I’m happy to report that Lord of Shadows kept the excitement from Lady Midnight and jumped amp’d it up further. And I always love when Clare’s books actually take us to the Shadowhunter homeland of Idris. That place sounds so beautiful I want to jump inside a sidewalk painting of it Mary Poppins style.

 

Overall feelings:

Loved it. 5/5. Exactly what I needed to really pull me out of my reading slump. If you enjoyed Lady Midnight, you will not be disappointed!

 

Book Reviews

Lady Midnight Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

LM_coverTitle: Lady Midnight

Author: Cassandra Clare

Pages: 720

 

This Review should be Spoiler-Free as much as I can make it! As far as I know it’s spoiler free.

Excerpt:

“It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions . . .

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago―has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind―and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his
family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?”

I would be lying if I said that parts of this book did not eat me up, spit me back out, then stomp on the puddle of goo that used to be me. Ok, maybe that was a tad melodramatic, but the sentiment stands. I actually waited about 5 days to sit down and write this review because I wanted to make sure I was writing it with a clear head, and wouldn’t cloud it with emotion – basically I wanted to make sure that I was giving it 5/5 stars because it deserves it, and not because I had burned through the last 400 pages in one night and my tired brain assumed I loved it.

But it’s true – I can give this book a 5 star review. I wish that I had taken the time to actually notate on post-its all of my favorite moments and quotations, but in all honesty I was too wrapped up in simply enjoying the story.

Plot:

The story starts out a tad slowly, which is in no way surprising since when introducing a new series you have a lot of background exposition that needs to happen. Saying that I loved the in this story Clare throws us into a world where every main character already knows that they are a Shadowhunter. There is no being “thrown into a new world that you know nothing about” to deal with, which is a nice change from her previous series (no slight against them…I love the Infernal Devices). You are tossed into a world following two parabatai, Emma and Julian, as Emma struggles with feelings of revenge and trying to find out who killed her parents in her childhood. Fast forward to present day and there are killings that she is sure to her core are connected back to her parents. Throw in some forbidden love, since parabatai are not supposed to have romantic love for each other, and you are good (that shouldn’t be a spoiler, it becomes pretty obvious within the first couple chapters).

Once the main points of the plot were set up this story really flew by. It went along at a good clip of action, then more base story, then action, then base story, allowing each piece to never feel stale or too drawn out. By the end I felt like I was on the edge of my reading chair simultaneously not wanting the book to end and needing to know how the book was going to end!

Characters:

I loved the entire cast of characters, from the main cast to the supporting. Especially knowing that so many of the characters are still so shrouded in mystery even by the end of the book.

Emma & Julien have such an amazing bond, really opening up what the idea of parabatai should be. As much as we saw amazing parabatai bonds between Alec & Jace and Will & Jem, the relationship between Emma & Julian really stood out as something almost stronger. They really feel like they are two sides of a coin that make one perfect Shadowhunter.

Mark: He was definitely a great window into the world of the Fae. I loved hearing about his time with the Wild Hunt and all the characters he brought with him. His character felt so unpredictable about how he was going to react to things, that it really felt like I never knew what he was going to do. Plus, I loved his interactions in the world (it reminded me a lot of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow!). I’m so looking forward to finding more about his character.

Ty & Livia: The twins are fun and full of shenanigans, but equally have such complex storylines. Livia is straightforward, knowing exactly what she wants and having no problem stating that fact. Ty is still so much of an unknown, I want to know what is going on inside his adorable mind and what his idea for his future is.

Drusilla and Octavian: I feel like we didn’t get to learn too much of these characters backstories. We did get just enough for me to know I love them and just want to give them hugs.

Christina: She is studying at the LA Institute during her “travel year” coming from an institute in Mexico. I loved her relationships with Emma and with Mark. With Emma it was nice to see her have a friend outside of the Blackthorn family, who she could really confide in without it seeming like it would get around to the whole family. With Mark she was great since she was the only one he didn’t have any history with. Which made it so he didn’t have to try and be an old version of himself with her, he could be exactly who he was now without feeling nervous. Plus, Christina is sassy, and I loved that.

There are so many other characters, but I mostly wanted to focus on the main Blackthorn and Co Clan.

Extras:

Especially fun was getting glimpses into the characters from the previous installments. Not all of the glimpses were them actually showing up, but just being spoken of. It gave the feeling that everyone in these books are interconnected, which just adds to the layers of story building Clare does in her novels. It was just enough to get you excited about being connected to The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, but not so much that this book was really able to feel like it was standing on it’s own two feet.

I loved this book so much and am now anxiously awaiting the next installment! As well as the first book in her other upcoming trilogy. I’m so happy to still be getting books in this universe – especially knowing I still have at least 5 left!

 

5/5 Stars!

 

P.S. – Considering this is the first book in the trilogy and it is 720 pages….how long are books 2 and 3 going to be??? Is one of them going to break 1000????

Book Reviews

Remembrance Book Review

17302879This book has been a long time coming for me. In middle school and high school my sister and I were obsessed with Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. In all honesty, we loved all of her series, but this one in particular captivated us. Imagine my happiness when she announced on her blog 9 years after it was done that she was indeed going to be adding another adult installment to the series. I was over the moon, to say the least. And the ultimate test of strength, I actually waited 10 days after the book was released to actually purchase it. Why, you might ask? Because Meg Cabot was going to be in Santa Rosa! Which is only like 3 hours away! My favorite author, who RARELY comes to the West Coast, was going to be driving distance away! My sister and I immediately booked ourselves a seat and awaited the big day.

The day was amazing, the book made all the better by getting to meet her.

I loved this book, unsurprising given my love of the series as a whole. It was a great introduction into the series set in a more adult world, the previous 6 installments taking place when the characters were in high school. It hit the ground running sucking you into a world full of Suze, Jesse, and NCDPs (Non Compliant Dead Persons) as Suze refers to them. While I was able to see the different twists and turns that were coming in this novel it didn’t stop the suspenseful feeling I felt reading it. This novel presented a villain on 2 fronts, one being almost delightfully evil, the other being downright dark. Of all of the books in the series I would say this has the darkest theme, which is unsurprising given that this is the first to be published as an “adult” novel instead of “ya.” It was full of swoon-worthy Jesse moments, firmly solidifying him as one of my two “book husbands,” and ended on such a happy note. Happy for two reasons – 1. The characters actually got to have a completed ending and 2. Despite the completed feeling, the book’s ending left an open door for Meg to EASILY continue writing this series in it’s adult format.

I woul1915738_10207694422212904_7985638354521313500_nd hastily recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of the series. And, in all honesty, this book also introduces the characters in a way that you could read it even if you haven’t read the others, with minimal confusion.

 

5/5 Stars

Love, Maren!

Book Reviews

Glass Sword Book Review

Glass_SwordGlass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

444 Pages

Release Date: February 9th, 2016

Spoiler-Free!

I will admit that I waited for several months after Red Queen came out to pick it up. I could tell that it was going to be the type of YA Fantasy that was going to be just up my alley, but after being burned by Catching Fire year ago I had made a rule for myself: I will not read books that look like they are going to be trilogies until all 3 installations have been released. Fast forward 3 months after it’s release and I break down and get the book and burn through it in about 48 hours. Welp there I am in the same position, anxiously awaiting a book for months on end. Waiting out a new book in a series is nothing new to me. Every year for the last decade I have awaited December or January for my favorite author Maria V Snyder to release a new novel. But it is never easy when you want to just return to a world and a story you have fallen in love with. Until finally the day comes and it’s Glass Sword release day!

 

Now the saddest part of my read of Glass Sword was that it took me a good 10 or 11 days, which for this book blogger/bookstagrammer is a loooonnnnnnng time. But, adulting is hard and the show I’m working is opening in 2 days, so that was how it went. The only upside to it taking me 10 days instead of 1 to read it? That is 9 days less I have to wait until the next book. Because OH MY GOD I NEED IT! Glass Sword was a fantastic novel with just the right amount of action sprinkled in with plot development. It had  a great pace and never at any point did it feel like it dragged on through too much dialogue or too much action. And on that point all of the action felt as though it served a purpose. It was not just there to fill space or show that, yes, this is a fight and we need to remember all fights are bloody. Every single death had a meaning and a purpose behind it, on both sides of the fight.

I will say this: it is so easy to get constantly irritated at Mare. There are so many times that I just want to shake her and yell at her for being crazy. But there was really a feeling that by the end of the novel she had grown, but the getting there was not easy.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone that has a love of YA dystopian or YA Fantasy. But, as always, read the first book first.

 

4.5/5 Stars ❤

Book Reviews

The Siren Book Review

Siren_BookCoverThe Siren by Kiera Cass

Published Date: January 26, 2016

336 Pages

I will start off by saying that I know that this novel by Kiera Cass was not actually a new release. It was a republishing of her first novel, being rereleased due to the high success of her Selection Series. I greatly enjoy The Selection and it’s sequels. I may not believe that they are the most thought provoking or earth shattering, but they tell a fun story that is a greatly enjoyable read. I went into The Siren with the same expectations. This novel is a standalone, with no planned sequels or additions to the universe. And the book progresses and ends in such a way as you are completely contented with the ending. Without giving too much away 🙂

 

This book follows a 19 (or 100 depending on how you look at it) year old girl named Kahlen who is a Siren for the Ocean. She has been a Siren for 81 years along with a few other girls, each of them serving as a Siren for the Ocean for a total of 100 years. Despite being almost done with her sentence as a Siren (in a manner of speaking) Kahlen is unhappy and feels as though her life is missing something. This book follows her over a year of her life trying to come to terms with what it would mean to be a Siren who falls in love with a mortal. The love story is sweet and you easily find yourself feeling all the happiness and sadness that Kahlen goes through at various points in the book. Her supporting cast of characters do not get as fleshed out as I would have liked, but they are definitely not brushed aside by any standard. They stand by Kahlen in everything that happens and you definitely are left with the feeling that these girls, the younger and the older, definitely think of themselves as something more than sisters. They are the only girls in the world who can understand what the others are going through and they will protect each other fiercely, no matter what the cost.

All in all I enjoyed this novel, as I believe I would always have a good time reading things that Kiera Cass writes. I am looking forward to The Crown, which is the final book (as far as I know) in The Selection series.

 

Book Score 4/5