Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare - Book Review

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare
Publication date: June 4, 2019
My rating: 4 stars

 “Kit straightened up. “Nope, I’m good. Come on Brother Hauntingly Attractive.” “There’s no need to mention this to Tessa.” “And Yet,” said Kit, “I’m gonna.”  

The problem about reading a Cassandra Clare book... you immediately want another one.

While this was probably my least favorite of the short stories collection - The Bane Chronicles and Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy - it was still an epic read, and I could not put this book down after hitting the halfway mark.

I think the reason I liked it less was only due to a few of the short stories that just didn't really... appeal to me? But the short stories about Alec and Kit and Jace... AHH, my heart! And I also really appreciated all the background information we got on certain characters. It really adds depth and also really sets us up to The Wicked Powers trilogy (as well as for The Last Hours trilogy). 

*Spoilers from now on (note the end of spoilers below)*

"A love the cannot be requited. I can think of nothing more painful than that."  

I felt really bad for Jace's biological mother, Celine. It's really so sad that Jace never got to know her, that she never got to love her son. The poor girl has been abused and ignored her whole life and it just made me to angry and sad to hear. I don't even think anyone, aside from Valentine, knew what her parents did to her. Maybe the ones from her institute, but they were as evil as her parents.
Celine just wanted to be loved, she wanted to belong. And it was so painful to read how she fell to Valentine's trap.

I'm also angry about Jace's biological father, though? He obviously had the Herondale charms, but it didn't impress me because if you think about it, he chose to leave Amatis for Celine, and yet he still yearned for Amatis, never really loving Celine fully. No one forced him to leave Amatis, no one charmed him to do to. It really just made me angry, because if he truly wanted to be with Amatis he would have found a way, and instead he threw her aside, went to Celine, and didn't even love her truly. 

"I'm basically twelve," continued Alec, who was totally eleven. 

I'm so sad for Thule Jace 😭 Can't get used to his new name yet. I know I know, Thule Jace is the villain, he will obviously eventually be killed, probably either by the "good guys" or him sacrificing himself, realizing it's his only way at peace and redemption.

But I'm just so sad for him. Because at the end of the day, he is Jace. Yes, not the Jace we all know and love. He's a dark Jace, who kills mercilessly and is honestly scary and evil, but... Jace :( He literally went through HELL and he just wants Clary and it's so sad.

I also just need Clary and Jace to get married though! Honestly, get married already! And have children! If it is as it usually is, there is a wedding at every ending of Cassandra's books, so we'll probably get the Jace and Clary wedding at the end of The Wicked Powers?

They trained together at the London Institute and took lessons together in various schoolrooms, and Lavinia Whitelaw had referred to them as “that notorious bunch of hooligan boys.” Matthew and James had called themselves Shadowhooligans for some time after that remark. 

Can we talk about Lily Chen for a second? My heart hurts for her. I love her, I love Raphael, I want them together. *sob-sob*. Part of me is screaming at her "What are you doing?! Don't trust Thule Jace!" While the other part of me is "Yes yes yes yes, bring the other Raphael here! We need our Raphael again!"

How precious is Kit, Jem, Tessa, and Mina though? THAT FAMILY. I just wanted to read so much more of them together. Mina is SO CUTE, and I want Kit to be even more cute with her. They're already so cute! I loved that scene when he went to her room and held her up trying to get her to sleep. Precious.

*End of spoilers* 

I do not have to be only one thing, Anna thought. I can choose what suits me when it suits me. The trousers and jacket do not make me a man, and the necklace does not make me a woman. They are only what makes me feel beautiful and powerful in this moment. I am exactly as I choose to be. I am a Shadowhunter who wears gorgeous suits and a legendary pendant. 

I realized something about myself as I was reading. Well, it was something I already knew about myself but realized it even more now, that I really don't enjoy descriptions. Of places, or people. The bare minimum is enough to satisfy me. I'm much more dialogue/thoughts oriented. And Cassandra Clare's writing could be very descriptive at times.

So yeah, while I did fell it was rather slow-paced due mainly to my lack of interest in some of the stories, I did think it was amazing and deep and just... I love everything Cassandra Clare writes, she's my queen of fantasy, and I love the Shadowhunter world. Thinking that we only have 8 more books honestly makes me HORRIFIED. I cannot wait for The Wicked Powers - but as long as we're going to have The Last Hours and The Eldest Curses I'm happy even if I have to wait forever until my Kit and Ty. 

"Anyone who says women are weak is afraid they're too strong." 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell - Book Review

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: September 24, 2019
My rating: 3.5 stars

I'll never have someone like Baz again. There is no one like Baz; it's like dating someone out of a legend. He's a heroic vampire, a gifted magician. He's dead handsome. 

By the angel! Wait no, wrong book-phrase... by crowly, the snakes, Morgana, and magic itself, WHAT THE HELL. 

I can't people. I cannot even.
I have so many... thoughts? Feelings? Frustrations? Questions?
I don't even know what to say.

I've made the mistake once, 4 years ago, thinking Carry On was the last book in this... series? Who knows if it's a trilogy, a series, or whatnot... but I'm getting ahead of myself. *ahem*. So we all thought Carry On was a standalone, right? But then, a couple of years later we got AWESOME news that we'll have a sequel! And I was like "omg, a sequel! All about Simon and Baz honeymoon phase to solve all the lingering problems and questions from Carry On and wrap this up nicely with Simon and Baz together at last."
HAHAHA... no. Nope.

Crowly, we're bad at this. I can't even tell what Simon wants. Does that tag mean "I like you" Or is it "take care"? Or "Give me back my hand"? 

Because you see, Wayward Son made all of my post book craziness from Carry On SO MUCH more intense. And by the love of magic itself, I hope we don't have to wait 4 more years for the next book because that ending... that ending...
It literally solved nothing AT ALL. And I'm not even talking about the ending, I'm talking about the whole book.

I loved the book! But I'm also frustrated with it! I don't even know how to feel. Because I'm obviously a fan of these books but am also being a harsh critique here? 
I think I need some tea right about now. A calm cup of tea.
"A vampire, two mages, and a bleeder." Lamb sights and stands up. Every one of us flinches. "I'm going to need a cup of tea." "Oh, thank magic," Penelope says at the same time Simon says, "Tea?" and Baz says "Crowly below, please let us have some." 

So where was I?
Oh yes.

The book could have been so much better if Simon and Baz were actually talking to each other. I mean, they were talking, but not talking-talking. 

Maybe it was my mistake to think of this book as the “happily ever after” sequel. Especially considering this is by no means the last book (!). At least it better not be. It kind of felt like all the progress we made to get Simon and Baz together in Carry On went to waste here with them literally having to tiptoe around each other the entire book.

Sure, they’re officially together but they also aren’t? Crowley, I don’t even understand what I’m saying.

Like they don’t talk about how they feel, they don’t express themselves, they’re constantly scared of accidentally saying or doing something to make the other one run off. So they have no real talks. At all. And even the real talk they were *starting* to have at the very end was cut off. *crying into the abyss*. 

"Look here, son. We don't want any of your trouble. They might put up with you deviants wherever you come from, but this is Nebraska." (He could mean literally anything by "deviants". Magicians, vampires, bird boys, queers...) 

And yeah, I could understand this for a bit, but it's literally the situation THE ENTIRE BOOK. I’m serious, the entire book. 

We’ve done this, we’ve been there before with Carry On. I didn’t want another Carry On on my hands, I wanted the Baz and Simon ACTUALLY together having adventures being lovey-dovey, not “is he still my boyfriend” “can I kiss him?”.

I guess this could all be made more tolerable if I actually knew there was going to be a third book? But even if I knew, who would want two characters who are together to act like they don't even know if they're together for an entire book? With not even one single conversation between them I could count as deep.

I'm probably being too harsh here, I'm just filled with so many emotions right now.  

So let's get on to the good stuff, shall we?
I mean I did love this book! It's actually because I love this book and these characters that I get so deeply frustrated about these things. 

"I think it was light brown," Baz says. "This light brown," I say, pointing at a house, "or that light-light brown?" I point to another. "That's not light brown, that's a warm grey." "They're all sort of warm grey," I say, "even that green one." "I don't see a green one." "That one over there." "Surely, that's a tan." 

I’m in love with Rainbow’s writing style. It’s just so addictive! And funny! and quotable! I think I wouldn’t have minded quoting the whole book! I quoted the hell out of it anyway.

And the characters! Well we already know Penny and Simon and Baz (Baz is still my favorite although he’s done some stupid things towards the end there), but the newest character, Shepard, was awesomely fun! I nominate the guy as the official peace-maker of magic kind.

Everyone was telling him to shut up and he always wanted to learn more about magic, but he seriously seemed to be the only one who knows more than anyone in the room. I really liked the guy. He’s a bit crazy to go into danger like that, being Normal, but he’s also totally awesome for it. 

“Right,” I say. “We’ll need a candle.”“There’s one in the bathroom.”“And I’ll need your help.”“Me? I’m not even a lay-witch.”“As long as you have a soul, we’re fine.” He looks a bit worried. “Shepard, it’s fine—this isn’t dangerous.”
He smiles. “My soul is at your disposal.”
*spoilers from now on* 

I was actually really shipping him and Penny together but unfortunately, he wasn’t introduced all that early in the story and it didn’t seem like they had the time to develop a relationship in all those crazy magical adventures and almost dying multiple times. You know how it is. However! I definitely saw some sparks there towards the end, and I'm thinking that we're definitely hinted to a pairing of them in the third book. There is a third book, right? RIGHT? 

Agatha, yes—you brilliant girl. You’ve saved the day in the end.

As for Agatha, I didn’t like her at first. Well, I wasn’t liking her since Carry On, and I really just didn’t want to read her chapters in the very beginning. But then when she was in trouble I suddenly felt that overwhelming need for everyone to save her.

Because at the end of the day, Agatha is still part of their family. She might not be the most likable one, but she’s family nonetheless. And you can always count on family.
I think there might even be a chance of me actually liking the girl in the third book if she keeps this up. Maybe. We'll see.

Agatha is also a surprisingly talented magician? Probably even more so than Baz and Penelope, if she even bothered to learn, since she can actually cast spells without her wand. And with her lips sealed! Like seriously, Agatha, this is totally kickass! She really made us understand the whole “magic is inside of you, it’s part of who you are”. 

"You were amazing," he says, taking a breath. "You didn't even need a wand." I hold on to his shoulders. "I'm a little disturbed that you find slaying vampires this exciting." 
*end of spoilers* 

For the love of magic, I hope we get news of the third book soon.
I think I'll go calm myself down now.
Every time I finish a book about Simon and Baz I feel like I've been through a tornado. Which is actually not a bad feeling at all. I mean hey, every book that makes your heart go pounding is a book that got you to care about it, deeply. 

“I’m not a magician anymore, Penelope.” “You’re still a magician, Simon. Aeroplanes don’t stop being aeroplanes when they’re on the ground.”

Saturday, September 14, 2019

14 Books That Are Totally Underrated (and I wish people would read because they're awesome)

Rush by Eve Silver

I glance at Jackson. "This is not good. There are civilians nearby." "Civilians?" Luka asks, his brows shooting up. "What are we? Special forces?" 

I cannot recommend this trilogy enough. 
When I first picked it up I had no expectations of it whatsoever. The cover, the summary, nothing really entranced me about it. I honestly just bought it because I couldn't find anything else I didn't already read in the store. 

But then. Then I read the first page. And I couldn't stop reading for hours.
It's so fast-paced and addictive. I love the romance. And I honestly can't recommend this enough. 

 The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

But sometimes the best defense was letting yourself seem defenseless. 

This duology was the first one that actually convinced me that yes, I could love a YA thriller mystery just as much as a fantasy. 

The first book sets things up nicely but the second one is an absolute mindblowing ride of thrilling awesomeness. I could not rest for a second, my heart was beating out of my chest. The side romance was also great, although it was not a main plot of the story.
For my review of the second book in the series. 

And if you love this one, you should also give a try to this author's other series called The Naturals, another underrated YA thriller series I very much enjoyed. 

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier  

"If we were in a film, the villain would turn out to be the least expected person. But as we aren't in a film, I'd go for the character who tried to strangle you." 

I'm actually not sure if this trilogy is underrated or not, but I can't say that I heard many people talking about it. And anyway, it's one fun time traveling ride, so I honestly highly recommend it.

If you're looking for a fun time traveling book to read with wonderful hate to love romance, this is definitely for you.
I would also recommend Dream a Little Dream by the same author. 

Land of the Beautiful Dead by R. Lee Smith 

"Could I come with you at least?" "No." "Sorry, my mistake, I said that wrong. What I meant to say was, I'm coming with you." 

Okay so this one is very much adult and also dark, so beware if you're only YA readers.
It was absolutely a crazy ride for me, and I loved it so much.
I literally wrote this in my review: "My god. It's been so long since a book made me this crazy mess of sitting for hours upon hours until my eyes got blurry and I forgot to eat." 

For the review click here

This is a fantasy romance horror dystopian book with adult themes. I would say beauty and the beast in a zombie apocalypse. Please please read it, if you love such themes. I would only say that the first chapter may be a bit confusing at first but things quickly get crazy and interesting from there. And I do mean crazy in the best way. 

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning 

"The single greatest advantage anyone can take into battle is hope." 

Okay, I'm cheating because this series has a lot of ratings on Goodreads, but yet I still feel like not nearly enough people know about it, and they should because this is freaking amazing.

Not only did I completely fall in love with Ireland in the process, I also fell in love with the protagonist, the love interest, the fantasy world, the banter, the fun moments, the scary moments, basically everything. 

This is also adult, but less dark than the previous one I mentioned. Still, adult themes.

 Infinity by Just Accardo 

Hi! I'm Kori, your almost cousin, and these two guys are from alternate reality where, apparently, we're both dead. If you kindly come with us, you could help stop a multiverse hopping lunatic, who has a serious hard on for you, from killing a lot of people. 

As I said in my review: "best parallel universe book I have ever read (and trust me, I tried a few). My heart was pounding. My mind was all the way in. The risks were high and I was constantly scared for the characters. It was fantastic."
For my review of Infinity click here

It's definitely not what I was expecting from the summary. I would highly recommend you give it a try. I'm honestly sad it has a rating of 3.64 on Goodreads (even though it's only from 601 ratings). It might not be the most complex or deep book in the world but it was a great read that I enjoyed a lot. 

Riders by Veronica Rossi 

My team - an actor, a drunk, and a sociopath - didn't exactly inspire confidence. 

You may have heard of Veronica Rossi from her very popular book series Under the Never Sky. However, for some reason, the Riders Doulogy by her only has 4,389 ratings on Goodreads. And it's such a shame because it was so good.

Right from the start, we get sucked into the mystery of it all as it gets told from both future and past POV of the protagonist. In the future, they're in trouble, being interrogated, and in the past is where we see how it all went down. Best squad right there. Seriously awesome, please read! 

The Call by Peader O' Guilin 

"Do you like farms?" She whispers. "Farms? Why... I don't know. I've-" "Say yes." "Yes. Um. I... love farms?" "Good. And Donegals?" 

Another book that made me believe I could actually enjoy a YA horror story. Who knew! Certainly not me, the "I can't deal with horror, just give me regular fantasy!" reader.

To say this book was thrilling would be an underestimate. It was gripping. I was completely horrified all the way and yet I still found the time to worry and root for our characters, and even enjoy the little bit of romance in that horrifying mix. 

For my review of The Call click here

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 

I had enough problems of my own back in Kansas. Why couldn't I have been swept away to an imaginary kingdom where nothing was wrong at all - where I could just kick my legs up and enjoy a nice, relaxing vacation? I racked my brain, trying to remember if there were any books or movies like that, and realized there weren't any. 

This is another cheating on my part since it does have quite a lot of ratings on Goodreads, but I still feel the urge to recommend it further. 

I'm still amazed at how fun, wonderful, and amazing this series was. Not to mention how original. Good is evil, evil is good, magic, mayhem, romance... if you still haven't read this one, please do, I urge you! 

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen 

Just stay calm. Think of your brain as a machine. It'll do what you want it to do if you operate it correctly. I'd told myself that plenty of times before. But the problem I always came back to was this: if my brain was a machine, half its buttons didn't seem to work. And the other half didn't have labels. And I'd lost the instruction book. 

One of the best YA sci-fi LGBTQ romance books I have read.
There just aren't enough of those around, huh?

It was just so wonderful, and those two boys are just so precious, and I highly highly recommend. I don't want to say anything more or I'll spoil so please just read it! 

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faziel 

"Do you ever not provide your opinion?" Kifah asked, picking up a scorpion's molt and studying it. Altair bowed. "I like to think I'm lightening the mood, shifting focus away from our impending dooms. You're welcome." "I never thanked you." "I know. I'm saving you the extra breath. You're welcome for that, too." 

Under normal circumstances, I may have had trouble with this book taking so long for two of the protagonists to meet. But it was just the book I needed to read to get me back into reading fantasy after a long time away. And aside from the whole "taking a while to meet" thing, It was really good! Engaging writing style, kickass characters, funny companions, a romance to root for, a magical quest... how could one resist? 

For my book review click here

The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram 

"I can't accept that." "Denial isn't good for you." "It isn't denial." "Now you're denying your denial." 

There aren't many books that are both funny and representing mental health issues (social anxiety, depression).
This, however, is one of them!

I was totally engaged in it both for my connection with Avery over social anxiety, and for my love for romance comedies. It was just wonderful, and I highly recommend it to all! 

Wicked Ugly Bad by Cassandra Gannon 

Being part of the Tuesday share circle was like being part of a screwed up, criminally inclined family. Even when they didn't like you, they were still there to help you blow shit up. 

Fun, fun, fun. This was just FUN.
Another original fairy tale retelling series that makes you all confused about who the bad guys really are. 

A prison break. A group of misfits. Magic. Mayhem. Vengeance. All set up in a world of twisted fairy tales where Good is Bad and Bad just may be Better.
For my review click here

P.S: This is also not YA 

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 

"On their honeymoon?" I ask incredulously. He nods. "Together?" He nods again. "Are you high?" "Not presently." 

Okay, so I know this book is pretty popular. I just want it to be even more popular because it's so freaking hilarious I can't even. 

I don't usually easily laugh, let alone like a crazy person, but I've done both of those while reading this book, repeatedly.
Just... just read it. Trust me. 

Honorable mentions: The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen, Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson, The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke, Equal Parts by Emma Winters, How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahren, The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane and Well Met by Jen DeLuca :) 

And that's it for now! Did you read any of these books? Do you want to read them? Are there any you know that you think I should read? Let me know ^_^ 
Until next time... 

"I wanted you to be sociopath charming," I say. "Too charming, so that afterward people look back and think, "You know, I didn't get it at the time, but he was always too perfect.' That sort of charming. Not, like, self deprecating and cute."  
-- The Unhoneymoonets, Christina Lauren