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

Books are the Best Medicine – Here’s My Preferred Prescription!

Today’s post is going to be a little bit of a shorter one, because as you may have guessed I’m so ill as to be seeing stars and hanging out all day in bed. Of course, hanging out in bed all day DOES come with the awesome upside of having a lot of quality time to spend with one’s bookshelf. Therefore, I decided today’s post would be all about those books of mine that I just read over and over and over again when I’m feeling down. After all, who needs meds when you’ve got books? (Let it be noted that the following are just a sample. My books number in the thousands. :P) If you have a book that helps YOU feel better, let me know in the comments! My cough tells me I’m going to have a loooot more time to kill before I get much better. ^.^

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This is probably the newest book I’ve added to this list, but I just can’t get enough of it. You can check out my initial review of the book here–it still shows how I feel about this book quite well. I just CANNOT get enough of these characters or the story or … anything. I actually reread it just the other day and discovered that–despite how many times I’ve read this–I still have to be careful while I’m reading, because I STILL laugh hysterically at the jokes that always happen to show up every time I want a drink.

Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins

Yes, Hex Hall too, but at the moment I’ve been reading Demon Glass a bit more with the reason that the third book IS coming out March 13. These books are action packed AND include cute guys and awesome one liners. I’m not one who easily laughs out loud at books, but when I’m STILL doing that on my one gajillionth reread, I know I’ve got something special that I just refuse to let go.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

I COULD have titled this entry “anything by Cassandra Clare” and still be telling you the truth, but I really have a thing for City of Glass. Probably because of all the Jace/Clary-ness but whatever. I just had a new urge to reread the entire Mortal Instruments series (if you want to know just what these are, check out my article here) again after going through Clare’s section of Goodreads quotes and laughing so hard I tipped over my chair. All that goodness undiluted can kill, I swear. These books are also so awesome and widely appealing that my brother read them, so we have quote wars. It’s amazing, let me tell you.

Squire by Tamora Pierce

Now, throughout this post you’re going to notice I have a thing with rereading the final books in series. If you know anything about Pierce’s Protector of the Small series, however, then you’ll know Squire is actually the 3rd of 4 books. Don’t ask me why, but I just adore this book like nobody’s business. I actually broke the spine of the library’s copy before I realized I should prooobably get my own. But hey, how can you go wrong with Kel, Raoul and a baby griffin? (The answer is, you can’t.)

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Alright, here we go, back to the “last book in the series” trend. Well, I’ll be honest, any time I name one book in a series it’s a good bet I just spend all day rereading the ENTIRE series, but this is just my favorite. You’ve got the Shang Dragon AND George AND Thom AND Jon AND her friends AND–erm. Everything. This book has everything. I better just leave it at that…

The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Full disclaimer: I usually don’t reread the entirety of this book. In fact I usually don’t read the entirety of this series. I reread all Rose and Dimitri sections and flip through the rest. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the other characters–Adrian especially after Bloodlines–but…AAGH. Rose and Dimitri. Never have I shipped a couple so hard. Seriously. (Although Sydney and Adrian are coming up close second.) I have reread this book quite a few times, but I have mauled the end pages that include Rose and Dimitri’s “happily ever after.” I may be a sucker, but you can’t tell me it isn’t reasonable with this two.

Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait To Read (Part 2)

Yes, this countdown required not one but TWO postings. Why? Because there are so many amazing books out there! If you missed part 1, you can find it here. But enough babbling, let’s get to the BOOKS.

RAPTURE by Lauren Kate (Fallen #4)

Release date: June 12

Why: Because I enjoyed all three previous books for the most part, and I’ve seen this through so far I can’t help but see it through. If you’ve read my blog before you know I hate hate hate the instantly in love YA cliché, but Kate makes it work as much as it ever can. The last book, Passion, was a genuinely interesting trek through time that really departed from the first two, so I hope Rapture will be just as interesting!

 

THE GOLDEN LILY by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #2)

Release date: June 19

Why: Because Mead’s Vampire Academy world is freaking amazing. I may never adore another set of her characters like I did Rose and Dmitri, but honestly the characters of Bloodlines are putting up a pretty goodfight–even though I hadn’t liked many of them when they showed up in the VA books. Then there is Adrian, whom I would read ANYTHING about. Plus, the end of Bloodlines? The VA character that showed up? I NEED TO READ THIS SO BADLY. It comes out the day after my birthday, so those future gift cards of mine have already been waaay committed.

ENDLESSLY by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy #3)

Release date: July 24

Why: Okay, I’m not going to lie: these books are quirky. They are way quirky. It takes a certain type of reader to be able to take the quirkiness that is Evie. But you know what? I love it. The books are easy reads that are cute and funny, and pretty exciting when you get into it. Also, interesting. The plot line is pretty original for a “let’s through every paranormal in the world into one book” scenario. I love me some evil faeries. Endlessly won’t be on my MUST HAVE NOW list the second it comes out, but it will most certainly be on my bookshelf pretty soon after.

COURTSHIP AND CURSES by Marissa Doyle

Release date: August 7

Why: Because I’m genuinely curious. I read Doyle’s Leland sisters duet and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this is clearly in the same vein. Goodreads billed this as the third book in that series, but the blurb makes no mention of them at all. Are they in it? Is this going to be a redux of that series with a new character with a much less flashy name? I suppose we’ll see August 7!

 

HIDDEN by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night #10)

Release date: October 6

Why: Because I’m hoping it’s the last one, honestly. I’ve held on with this series this far because I didn’t think they could drag this out THIS LONG and because Stark is hot. That is baaaasically it. I haven’t even bought the last one yet (pictured here because I wanted a pretty picture)because I wouldn’t cry if I had to give up the series right there because HOW MUCH MORE? How much more stringing out can there BE? WHERE do they keep coming up with more? It is this twisted reasoning that allows this book on this list.

UNTITLED by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #2)

Release date: November 2012

Why: No, this book doesn’t have a title or a cover yet, but it can’t help but be on my list. The first book (pictured here) made my book review turn into a rant of epic proportions and made me LOSE MY MIND. I can’t NOT read this book because Tahereh Mafi is writing it and I have this yearning faith that she’ll get her act together and write like the FANTASTIC writer she is just waiting to be.

UNTITLED by Ally Condie (Matched #3)

Release date: November 13

Why: Because I genuinely want to know how this ends. I’m still trying to get my hands on Crossed and my review of Matched wasn’t glowing, but…hey. This series is only three books and I’m interested. Why not? Pretty sure these books are worth it just for Ky, anyways. Maybe my views will change when I read the second book, but I’m staying open-minded. (The image here is only the teaser cover, not the actual one–in case you were wondering.)

 

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices #3)

Release date: November

Why: Must we go over this again? IT’S CLARE. Yes, in case you were confused, this is a different series. Clare is currently going back and forth between them to keep them both moving along so nobody kills her. With the hangers she always ends the books at, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone threatened her with that. Especially, you know, Clockwork Prince. This book needs to come out SO MUCH FASTER. With the addition of the 3 “not planned” books to The Mortal Instruments, I must say that The Infernal Devices has become my favorite because it feels fresh and exciting, not like she’s forcing more plot out. I was really worried the books were going to turn out too parallel to each other but…nope! They are both equally amazing and equally different. GIVE ME MORE!

 

And that’s it for now! Until, you know, tomorrow when I’m browsing Goodreads and OHMYGOODNESS LOOK AT THAT BOOK THAT’S COMING OUT. Because it will happen. It always does. 😀

Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait to Read (Part 1)

Does anyone else write down book release dates on their calendar? Because I do. The second I get a date, it’s scrawled on the calendar in a colored pen so fast the ink gets mussed. I got a calendar as a present and that was the first thing I did. Thank you, Goodreads. Here’s a list of books I’m waiting for and their release dates! If you see one that’s on yours too, SQUEE WITH ME. If there are ones that aren’t on here, and that fact BLOWS your MIND, tell me in the comments! You can never get too many books.

JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantasky (Jessica #2)

Release Date: Jan 10

Why: Because I’m honestly curious what Fantasky is going to do, since I was so sure the first book–Jessica’s Guide to Dating the Dark Side–was a stand alone novel. It certainly didn’t leave any loose ends or anything. It was genuinely interesting and a new take on vampirism, so I enjoyed it. I may or may not be a sucker for “what happens after the fairytale ending” stories. Plus, Lucian was a hot vampire. Sign me up!

HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #2)

Release Date: January 17

Why: I linked to my review of the first book, Unearthly, which will talk more about my feelings about the book, but I will say again that I am genuinely curious how Hallowed is going to unfold, not just plot-wise but also writing style-wise. Unearthly was good but slow, though I was too intrigued by Hand’s take on angelicism to put it down. I think without the time constraints that she was limited to by her own plot conventions in the first book, Hand can really do something special with this one. Or at least I’m hoping. You’ll certainly be the first to know when I figure it out! I’ve already got it pre-ordered.

EVERNEATH  by Brodi Ashton

Release date: Jan 24

Why: THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO COOL. Alright, blurbs can often be very misleading, but, come on. This book has a really, really neat concept as described here. It’s been advertised on inkpop and all over Goodreads, and I can’t help but cave. It probably won’t be on my instantly pre-ordered list because of all the series I’m excited to further and finish, but I most definitely want to pick it up when I get the chance.

WINGS OF THE WICKED by Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire #2)

Release Date: Jan 31

Why: Angelfire made me go gaga, plain and simple. Just…gaga. The storyline is awesome, the mythology is awesome, the twists were awesome, the romance is awesome and the guy is one I would love to date. Need I say more? Because I will, actually. The end of book one left opened up twists that I sure as heck didn’t see coming and left more questions than answers, and I NEED ANSWERS. It’s already been preordered and I am counting down days.

FEVER by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #2)

Release Date: February 21st

Why: Alright, yes, my book review of the first bookWither–wasn’t completely complimentary, but I can’t help but be intrigued. DeStefano handled some really tough issues really well and wrote in some great relationship stuff (and some not great, but I hold onto hope)…and the blurb talks about Rhine and Gabriel ending up in a “twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls.” Maybe I’m a sucker. Maybe I’m a big sucker. But come on. This is crazy enough it just might work, and Wither was good enough that I’m not ready to give up on this world quite yet.

SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall #3)

Release Date: March 13

Why: WHY DO I NEED TO TELL YOU? Ahem. Anyways. Have you read these? Because you need to read these. Yes, girl at magical boarding school has been tried and tried again, but I am in LOVE. LOVE. LOVE with this books. They are interesting, they are funny, they are will written and the love interest(s) are to die for. Oh, and it is SO NOT FAIR how Hawkins just leaves you hanging again and again. …I am very impatient when I just NEED to know what happens next, you may have noticed. I tend to pre-order by month, so you know what I’ll be doing March 1st instead of celebrating my father’s birthday.

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)

Release Date: May 1

Why: Divergent may or may not have been overhyped for a reason. It isn’t groundbreaking amazingness, but it is pretty darn near close. I’ve yet to read a dystopian that I’ve enjoyed this much. It was the realist, and the one I connected the most with. It had pretty much everything I look for in a book, plus I truly enjoy reading Roth’s writing. It’s easy but it sends a message clearly, which is really hard to do. It started a new wave of dystopian trends for a reason. If you haven’t read it yet, READ IT.

CITY OF LOST SOULS by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #5)

Release Date: May 8

Why: CASSANDRA CLARE. That should be enough for anybody. I’ll admit,  I was almost a little upset when Clare decided she was going to write 3 more books in this series instead of keeping it at a trilogy as planned, but that doesn’t stop me from being a freakish fan girl. Jace and Clary make me so amazingly happy–not to mention Alec and Magnus and Simon and–everybody. Let’s just go with everybody. The last book wasn’t great; it was almost like Clare was actually making stuff up to keep the series going. Now, half of the people I talk to are pretty sure she was actually doing that, but goodness don’t SHOW it. Either way, sign me up for this one and all the rest. I just can’t put these books down EVER.

There were just too many books for this post, so you can find part 2 here!

Books to Movies: Why We Always Hate the Casting

What with so many books being turned into movies these days, I figured now would be a good time to talk about this, since I don’t have NaNoWriMo or a book review to talk about for the first time in ages. Actually, I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett, too, and started foaming at the mouth to get ahold of that movie. I was watching the trailer–which I had done before reading the book, but this was my first time after–and I just thought…

Wow. This doesn’t look how I pictured it.

I was genuinely confused, too. I love the actors that The Help has in it (I love you, Emma Stone!), and upon first hearing about the movie and seeing the cast, I was pretty convinced that they had picked exactly the right people to play in the movie. So what had changed?

The problem is, we readers will NEVER be happy with who is cast to play in books-to-movies. There will always be something about the person that is just…off. We don’t know what would make the right person to play our favorite character, but we do know that whoever they’ve picked is just wrong. We can feel it the second we take a glance at them.

When we read, we make the characters into ideals. Whether we visualize the characters or not, we KNOW who these characters to the point that we don’t need to picture them. Characters are not pictures too us–there are no pictures in books besides what our minds create. They are emotions, they are ideals, they are symbols. Asking a mortal person to be all that is, when you think about it, really just too much.

When you think about it further, this extends to even physical qualities as well. I never really visualize the characters in books too deeply. I keep my imaginings of characters to the forms of the soul, if you will. But even I had an extremely negative reaction when I heard that Jamie Campbell Bower had been cast as Jace in the movie they’re making of City of Bones, the first book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.

This, by the way, is a picture of him AS Jace. (Notice the gold eyes? Thank you www.cityofbonesmovie.com!)

“You are not Jace,” I told his picture. At the time, I couldn’t tell you why, I just knew. JCB is not my Jace. Later I would say that it’s because he looks too young, the hair is all wrong and he’s just not freaking hot enough. But you know what the biggest problem was? The movie had put a face to a soul that I had made into an idealistic god in my imagination. (I mean, if you’ve read the books you’ve done this. It’s JACE.) I’m not sure I would have been happy with ANY actor they had picked, because I had such an image-that-is-not-an-image of my Jace. Who knows, maybe JCB is your Jace. That’s another problem with casting. Casting departments have the loathsome task of trying to match millions of images of different readers’ Jaces. Yikes.

That said, I am more than willing to give Jaime Campbell Bower the benefit of the doubt. I have to put my faith in the idea that the casting departments know the real secret. They know that they will never make everyone happy with the look of their casting choices, so look can only be half of the equation. They have to test the actors and find the person that FEELS most like Jace. Of course, this feel is different for everyone, which is why there are casting TEAMS. Hopefully they all have read the books or at least have an idea to know what they’re looking for. It’s a lot of faith to rest in a bunch of strangers, I know, but let’s face it. They know the wrath of unhappy throngs of fan girls and boys. They don’t want to be tarred and feathered. I will forgive JCB for his face if he manages a convincing Jace swagger and smile. I will probably melt and squeal.

Well, not probably. Definitely.