Intimidating TBR Tag

Hey guys! It’s that time again, when Michaela and I do some tags! We’ve been talking a lot recently about TBRs–and how bad we are at them. BUT, they are important and we have very long ones. This is my version of this tag, and Michaela’s will be out soon as well!

Posts Mentioned in the Video

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Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 3/13/16

Hey guys! Really fast post from on on the road, actually. And really, you guys know how this works by now!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Worth It Wednesday: The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

City of BonesTitle (of first book): City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Goodreads Description (of first book): When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Why it’s worth it: IN HONOR OF THE LADY MIDNIGHT RELEASE, HERE’S THE SERIES THAT STARTED IT ALL. Ahem. Anyways.

I have a Cassandra Clare obsession. It’s bad. I once made my dad drive four hours to see her in person. I can’t help it if I just … love these books.

The original trilogy is fantastic. It’s great. I wrote in my joint review that you had to read them because they are the funniest, funnest things ever. I hold to that to this day. I love re-reading the books because I laugh every time. Clary is the kind of female protagonist who actually isn’t special (to begin with) but grows into her powers. Yes, some of it just kind of happens but other things do GROW. They are fun and fast adventures, and me and my brother both loved them. Everything about it was great.

The fourth book of the series–which was not always meant to exist–is probably my least favorite book that she’s ever written. It was this weird stop and start kind of thing that was forcibly kick starting the plot that had petered out at the end of the original trilogy. I got so upset.

When I reviewed book five, however, I learned to love the series again. The original trilogy had been focused on Clary and Jace, but in book five and six the world really expanded. We spent more time with more characters, and there was even more growth. I especially loved the romances that were given more time in the later books, because each one of them was so human in so many different ways. The plot, as well, once it got done clearing it’s throat, was really wonderful and well done. I was actually more interested in it than the original Big Bad.

All in all, The Mortal Instruments wasn’t the most cohesive thing. It has it’s issues, and it has it’s cliches. However, if you stick it out, you are in for one of the funniest, action-packed, human rides of your life. Even though this is a paranormal book, I return to the series again and again for the characters above all else. That’s a really high mark in a genre book for me.

Read it if you’re looking for: Paranormal, romance, strong female characters, large casts of good characters, humor, magic, action, adventure, series that aren’t trilogies, swoon-worthy male characters, strong world building

From the Notebook: (Some) Favorite Books to Re-Read

From the Notebook videos are back! This week I’m talking about all the books I re-read while I was home. I spent a lot of winter break sick or feeling awful after getting my wisdom teeth out, so this is really a list of some of my favorite books of all time. A lot of these are the books I always return to and that make me smile and make me happy. Enjoy the last video I filmed at my house for the foreseeable future!

Posts mentioned in this video:

Worth It Wednesdays: “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

clockwork angelTitle: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Goodreads Description: In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Why it’s worth it: First off, Cassandra Clare is a wonderfully amazing author. I am incapable of letting people ask “What should I read next?” without screaming HAVE YOU READ CASSANDRA CLARE? That said, most people are familiar with her The Mortal Instruments series, which I also love a lot. However, I honestly think that this series is more strongly written than the TMI books–and also is a tighter, more thoroughly planned trilogy.

The Infernal Devices series has all the elements that I love in the first series, while being set in a more Steampunk setting. The characters are a bit more complex and the plot line deals with more issues than just magic/action/thrills. That said, they read REALLY fast and are good for plenty of heart-pounding and emotions and laughter.

ALSO THE ROMANCE. I have never been more on the fence with who I wanted the main character to pick in a love triangle. Yes, love triangle. BUT A GOOD ONE. Cassandra Clare basically only wrote this love triangle because Holly Black told her that no one could ever write a good love triangle. Clare succeeded big time.

…just talking about them now makes me wish they were here at school with me so I could read them again and again and again.

Anyways, if you were looking for a gateway into Cassandra Clare’s world, LOOK NO FURTHER. There is definitely some debate on how best to read the series (since they interlock in weird ways, given the order in which they were published), but starting here will show you all the best that Clare has to offer, which will get you through some of the not as strong showings in TMI.

Read it if you’re looking for: steampunk, magic, fantasy, kickass heroines, romance, good love triangles, action, adventure, humor

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

So I haven’t done one of these in a LONG time, but since the theme worked so well into the direction I’m turning the blog in (i.e., promoting what I love, leaving the critical reviewing behind), I just had to do it. So, here we go (in no particular order)!

  1. Battle MagicTamora Pierce

This woman was the hero of my childhood. She was the hero of my tweens. She is the hero of my twenties. I got to learn from her for two summers in a row in high school–and THEN she came to my college freshman year–and the starry eyed wonder of her has never left me. Not to mention the fact that she has written more books than I actually know how to count and I have read them ALL.

2. Clive CusslerCrescent Dawn

There are about 20+ books in his Dirk Pitt series, PLUS however many are in the Kurt Austin adventures. He’s got a few other series now, but I’m a traditionalist and I’ve only ever read through these two favorites of mine.

3. All American GirlMeg Cabot

Didn’t every girl go through this phase? I’m not just talking Princess Diaries here, either. I read her stand-alones, her All-American Girl series … everything. If Meg Cabot write it, I had to have it.

4. Philippa GregoryChangeling

I will forever be cranky about the historical leaps that she took in The Other Boleyn Girl especially, but that doesn’t stop me from lapping up every single book she writes on Tudor England. I think the only books by her that I haven’t read was that one non-Royal series she did and–strangely–her YA series. The first book of which I have lying around here … somewhere.

bloodlines5. Richelle Mead

Richelle is another one of those authors that has written more books than I know how to count, but I haven’t actually read them ALL. I’m deeply obsessed with her 12 Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books but I have also read part of her Gameboard of the Gods series. I don’t know what I’ll do without more VA goodness, but she’s got me hooked enough on her to keep going with whatever she writes.

6. Cassandra Clareprincess

Did you guys miss the time that I drove 5 hours one way mostly to see Cassie? Because I did that. I have not only read everything she’s ever written, but also own it. (Except for that middle grade series she’s doing. I’m scared of middle grade.) She’s one of my favorite authors of all time right now, and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

A Countess Below Stairs7. Eva Ibbotson

Did anyone else read these books as a kid? I couldn’t stop. Sometime during my childhood, the publisher did a re-release of a bunch of her stuff and I bought all of it. It’s just so much … fun. Romantic, magical fun.

8. Simone ElkelesChain Reaction

I read Perfect Chemistry by Simone and I was just hooked. I went back and read all the stuff I’d missed beforehand, and then the two books that followed Perfect Chemistry. I even started her new series before my love of contemporary YA romance phased out. I still love these books to death, though.

Hex Hall9. Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall was absolute perfection. When her Rebel Belle series started, I wasn’t so sure I could do it. But no. I’m in love with Rachel forever and always.

10. Kiersten WhiteThe Chaos of Stars

Sometimes I forget just how MUCH STUFF Kiersten has done. Her Paranormalcy series was beautiful, of course, but then there was her Egyptian God based book Chaos of Stars–which I just reread–and her Mind Games series. All of which I own, of course!

Review: “Clockwork Princess” by Cassandra Clare

princessClockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads | Amazon

Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.

4 ½ stars

So this is it. And so soon after the end of Shadows in the Silence, too. I literally may die. I can’t handle this. Even if Cassie is going to be writing like a bajillion more Shadowhunter books.

This book starts out much like you might expect: Tessa is trying out a wedding dress, Jem’s in love, Will’s moody because all the women in his life seem to do is vex him and Benedict Lightwood has transformed into a giant bug thing because of demon pox.

Oh wait. No, I wasn’t expecting that last bit there.

The inciting incident of this novel is, in fact, that Benedict Lightwood has becoming a giant bug demon and that he ate his son in law. Gabriel Lightwood has nowhere to go but the London Institute for help. Charlotte is of course going to give it to him, without telling the Clave because of the shame it would cause the Lightwood family. Let the games begin!

Interestingly enough, these events are also interspersed with correspondence between the Clave and the Consul, telling the Consul that they are considering Charlotte as the new Consul. The characters have no idea this is going on, but we get a sense that the Consul has bad plans for Charlotte to keep her from getting his job. Throughout the book, these letters will keep cropping up to advise us of where the Clave is in their plans and just exactly what the Consul is thinking without making him a major POV character. It was a really interesting device, and I think it worked really well.

If you were expecting all the feels with this book, though, you’d be right. There is not one character mentioned who doesn’t rip at your heart strings. (I know the cliché is tug at your heart strings. This is way too tame for this book.) Even Gabriel Lightwood realizes he has a soul. The relationship between Will, Jem and Tessa continues to build, to the point where I almost couldn’t stand the idea that she would pick one over the other. But more on that later.

The plot was pretty good in this one, if a little over laden with dialogue sometimes. The most gorgeous moments in this book do occur through dialogue, but even I wished sometimes that somebody would just kill something. At the same time, the amount of character development was striking and I would have hated to not have had a moment of it. But just don’t expect all that much action.

So I know the big thing here is: who does she end up with? Well, I’m not going to tell you, obviously. I WILL tell you that if you want to be surprised by the ending, don’t get curious as to why the inside of your hard cover book jacket sparkles. There’s a family tree in there that tells you all you need to know and I looked at it way too soon.

This is mostly for my folks who’ve already read the ending and want to know what I think, but without spoilers so those of you who haven’t can try to puzzle it out. I thought the ending was heartbreakingly perfect—until the epilogue. I’ve read Cassie’s explanation for why she added the epilogue, but I’m still not sure I like it. On the one hand, the romantic in me finds it absolutely perfect. On the other hand, the reasoning that led Tessa to make her original decision just broke my heart in all the right places. It said so much about the beauty of their whole relationship. I may have died inside when she made the choice, but I probably could have come to grips with it a lot faster than this whole epilogue thing.

This review has already gone on way too long, but I had to make this a perfect send off. I will always love The Mortal Instruments, but the level of writing in The Infernal Devices is just off the charts. I love the characters in TMI, but the TID characters just break my heart, and I can’t stand to see them go. Thank you for a breathtakingly beautiful story, Cassie. I have to go cry again now.