Monthly Wrap-Up | April 2019

Morning, everyone!

Who else struggled with April? I honestly wanted to read more books and to buy them too. But I didn’t care if I did either. And since I had to dodge Avengers spoilers, I took some time away from my blog and my social media accounts. You don’t know how good it felt for not dealing with a self-imposed deadline.

Let me tell you that I cried, and I still feel hollowed out after watching that movie. But I’ve never been so proud to be a part of this franchise and family. #ILoveYou3000

Not let’s get back to blogging. This post is short (somewhat) and sweet (I hope). I hope you love it!

Read More »

My Most Anticipated Reads of April 2019

Morning, book bloggers,

Today is probably the right time to do this post, right? I may be late, but I caught most of the titles though. 😅 So be prepared for your TBR to explode with new books. April is turning out to be a great month for readers. But I doubt your bank account will like me or my post.

Like my first post, I haven’t listed all the upcoming novels, but I want to include my top picks.

Read More »

Top Ten Tuesday | Villains

Happy Tuesday, bloggers!

We have just eight more days until Halloween. I’ve been counting down the days for this prompt. You all know my affinity for awful characters.

Top Ten Tuesday, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a weekly meme. Today’s theme is villains! I will never stop loving them. Sometimes, they might be the only reason why I stay with a series and why I pick up the first book. So let’s get my top eight choices.

 

Prince Balekin from The Wicked King

At first, I simply distrusted Balekin, but I never knew of his potential. You’d think I’d select Jude and Cardan for my picks. But no. These two characters are the product of someone’s design. Balekin is on a different level than they are. I can’t believe I rooted for his family.

 

Lifelikes from (Well) Lifel1k3

How can I possibly hate them?! The way Kristoff writes these perfectly flawed yet utterly human-like characters is why. Lifelikes may hold more humanity than us humans, but they scare me. They hold destruction in one hand and salvation in the next. But they’re hellbent on being the masters of their own fate and aren’t afraid of wiping out our race in the process.

 

The Arrons Two Dark Reigns

I haven’t caught up with the series yet, but from the first chapter, I hated the Arron family. They shape Katherine for who she is, and I almost loathe her as much as I do Mirabella. But I don’t blame the sisters for what they must do in order to survive this heinous world. The Arrons, though, still creep me out and infuriate me.

 

Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn

Yes, you only get a taste of Gotham City Sirens here. But Sarah perfectly captures my three favourite female villains! This terrible trio almost makes Gotham more interesting.

 

Caro from Evermore

Sara may be a debut author, but she knows how to spin the perfect villain. I never expected anything from Caro. But I was so wrong about this character. And as the second book draws closer, I cannot wait to see how she will destroy everything Jules fights for.

 

Cohort from Queen of Air and Darkness

I never thought I’d hate another Shadowhunter as I despised Valentine. But the Cohort holds a special place on my hate list. After the devastation from the last war, select few Shadowhunters form the Cohort and wish to find any means necessary to restrict Downworlders.

 

Mother Blackbeak from Queen of Shadows

I honestly thought I hated her in Heir of Fire. But I want to gut this woman more than you can imagine. I wanted to put Manon in my list, but I don’t see her as much of a villain. Her grandmother still sends chills down my back when I think of her.

 

Legend from Finale

Can we please take a moment to marvel at this cover?! I’m in bliss. I’m still debating this choice. Some part of me wants to scream that he is one, then the other part feels as if he’s misunderstood. Why must villains be so complicated?!

Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Published by: McElderry Books

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 701

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.


“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 is that you didn’t feel anything.”

I went into this book thinking that the storyline will eventually go dark. And it does. But what I expected does not compare to what I got. The second instalment in the Dark Artifices, Lord of Shadows will shatter your expectations, divide the already fractured Shadowhunter world, make you ugly cry, and change the Downworld forever.

Even though Emma Carstairs has slain her parents’ murderer, she faces a more troubling situation: the love she has for her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn. A love that’s forbidden to all parabatais. But as she dates Mark so she can convince Julian she doesn’t love him, the faerie courts stir up trouble. Mark, Julian, Emma, Christina, and the rest of the Blackthorn family race to find a way to protect their own and hope to prevent a war among all Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

I raged, I yelled, and I cried once I finished this book. I saw the heartache weave through each page and path these characters take, and yet I’m so conflicted! And I have a hard time rating Lord of Shadows because it has obvious flaws in it, but it took me on an emotional ride I haven’t felt in awhile. I warn you now that Lord of Shadow is a tear-jerker. It will demand all your emotions and tears.

Shadowhunter lovers will know where I stand. Like I said before, Cassie’s work is like a Russian roulette for me. I don’t know if I’ll like her next piece. While I enjoyed the book, some storylines were drawn out too long, long chapters were draining, and some scenes were questionable.

But Cassie’s writing has improved over the years, and I appreciate her attention to detail to the expanded faerie world, the Julian-and-Emma arc, the adorable Kit-and-Ty relationship, and the overall tension the Downworld faces. This hostility among the Council, the Cohorts, and the Centurions heavily reflects our current political environment. And what I love most of YA books and authors is how they show our flaws in our society and aren’t afraid to speak up. I have to give thanks to Cassie for standing up.

I find writing this review without tears challenging. Cassie knows how to rip out your heart. And the characters’ progression throughout this sequel is hard to read, yet each one captivates me. That endearing Mark will always bring a smile to my face. I personally want him to separate from his potential love interests. I want him to find himself, but the love triangle with Mark, Christina, and Kieran prevents him from doing so. I see a new side to Kieran, and while I still hate what he has done, I received a better perspective of him.

Besides Mark and Emma being my favourite characters, Christina shines above them all. But I hope to see a forceful side to her in the next book. She may just be the Shadowhunter who gets rid of the Cold Peace, but if she wants something, fight for it. I was waiting for her to do so. The one trio that surprises me the most is Livvy, Ty, and Kit. I loved reading their scenes, and their dynamic plays off the page rather well. Finally, finally, we see the backstory to Diana and her possible love story. You have no idea how much I squeed. And Julian and Emma come last, as always. I’m still hesitant with them. Their arc worries me, and I don’t see happiness in their future, which I find disheartening because they deserve it the most.

Surprisingly, Lord of Shadows represents many pieces in our society, from sexuality, mental illnesses and conditions, and diversity. I haven’t seen this much representation in one book alone, and I love how it naturally flows through the story.

If you honestly think Cassie’s first and second series are heartbreaking, prepare for this book. Stock up on your Kleenex and hope you don’t break down. I can’t wait to see what Cassie has in store in the finale.

Book Haul: June 2017

Hey, everyone! This post is a little late, but here it is. I’ve been dying to buy some of these books. And Ii hope to get to read the rest shortly. Hopefully, they won’t sit on my shelf too long!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This book has been sitting on my TBR list for months. Well, okay, it’s been there for probably a year. And I regret every second I didn’t decide to order this beauty. I have an affinity for books with different colour book case. So when I found out it’s wrapped in a gorgeous white, I nearly freaked.

Kell, an Antari, travels through parallel Londons. Red London thrives in magic; White London is sick with it; Grey London doesn’t have any; Black London is dead. When a smuggling gig goes wrong, he meets Delilah Bard and sets off a series of events that threatens his loved ones and the other worlds.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

I haven’t gotten to this sequel yet, but I’m interested to see how Cassie takes the story. She’s introduced several conflicts that bring interesting twists to the new series.

Emma and Julian continue to live with their mistakes of not only becoming parabatai but also falling in love. Now to try to hide her love, she dates his brother, Mark. The Unseelie King refuses to follow the Cold Peace. And tension rises between Shadowhunters and Downworlders. The Blackthorns and members of the LA Institute must stand together to defend more than their loved ones.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Our Dark Duet is one of my most anticipated books of the year. Victoria has turned me into an instant fan, so I think I’ll buy anything she publishes. Not the greatest for my savings, but meh. The Monsters of Verity is one of the most unique series out there. I highly recommend.

Six months have passed since Kate and August parted ways. The monster pandemic is tearing the city apart, and August now runs his own military team in Verity, while Kate hunts monsters in Prosperity. When she finds a new monster, she’s forced to come back home, but the city she left is not the way she left it.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

If you’re looking for your next paranormal romance read, I recommend Gena’s Lords of the Underworld series. For the past few months, I’ve been breezing through it.

Aeron, keeper of Wrath, cannot seem to move past his guilt of almost killing Danika and her family. Now he senses another presence stalking him. Olivia, a fallen angel, was sent to kill him, but she gives up her immortality for a chance to be with him. Duty and desire war within his mind, but they aren’t his only problems. Another angel is determined to finish Olivia’s job.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Lies is the sixth instalment in the Lords of the Underworld series. And it’s probably the funiest out of the ones I’ve read.

Gideon, keeper of Lies, cannot speak a lick of truth, so when Scarlet, another keeper, claims to be his wife, he can’t tell if she’s lying. To find the truth, they reluctantly work together, but what they find may destroy them both.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Reading Wrap-Up: May 2017

May Wrap-Up.png

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MY HEART IS BLEEDING. And I don’t know how to stop it. Can someone just hug me? Please? I’m serious. This book has emotionally drained me. Anyways. I’ve been living in this fae world for several months now (clearly not enough time for me), and I’m sad to see Feyre’s story end. If Feyre and Rhys weren’t enough to break my heart, then all the others in the Night Court would. I adore Sarah’s complex world, and I just hope her next instalments will live up to this past one!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½

Hello, morbid nerd alert. How do you capture my attention? Bring in a character who possesses death. I think you had me at the word “death.” I cannot stop reading Gena’s Lords of the Underworld series. I’m trying to catch up to my friend, who just loves to give me tidbits from the next books (book tease, anyone?!). The series hooked me from the beginning. You get tortured immortal warriors who are doomed to house demons, fast-paced action, and even faster love stories.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have found my spirit animal…in a comic strip. Sarah captures who I am: the slight social introvert who cannot get enough books, the awkward nerd who lives in hoodies, and the odd cat lover. I’ve been following some of her work for several years but haven’t got the chance to read her debut strip until now. I love it. Highly recommend!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ahhh, this book is to die for. Obviously the sequel hits just the right notes. I finished these two comic strips in under an hour. If you think Sarah’s first strip was good, then definitely pick this one up. The sequel has a stronger cohesive flow to it. But she doesn’t scrimp on the social awkwardness. And I love how she brings humour to social anxiety.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Gena finally gives us Reyes and Danika’s story. She has hinted at it from the first book, Darkest Night and strung us along for awhile. I love these two. Reyes, keeper of Pain, has intrigued me from the first time he met Danika. Gena adds in a bit of forbidden love, and she has me hooked.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You know, I’ve wondered how I’d like reading about Sabin, the keeper of Doubt and the leader of the Greek faction. In previous instalments he sometimes got on my nerves, but with this sequel, I’ve grown to like him more. And he just gets more adorable when he find Gwen, a kidnapped harpy even his demon is afraid of!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I’ve been waiting to read this book for about a year. And Flame in the Mist doesn’t disappoint. I wasn’t expecting to love it this much, but I do. It is a beautifully written and lyrical fantasy that I’m sad to put down and is definitely one of my greatest reads for this year.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this new Shadowhunter series. I’ve been always gone back to Cassie’s work, since her last two series have been my guilty pleasure for years. Cassie introduces the Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs in City of Heavenly Fire, and since then I’ve wondered how they’d survive after a devastating lost and heal. She plays with the parabatai and forbidden love storyline, so I wonder what what she has to offer in the sequel.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 698

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


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?


Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


“There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.”

Lady Midnight is a poignant story with a forbidden love at its core. Cassie shows the darker side of her unforgiving and sometimes cruel world and opens up new arcs that, I’m sure, will attract Shadowhunter lovers who have been dying to see what happens to Julian, his family, and Emma.

Five years have past since the Dark War, where the Downworld was severed in two, and Shadowhunters suffered major losses after Clary’s brother, Jonathan (Sebastian) Morgenstern, waged war with them. Emma Carstairs, who lost her parents in that war, looks for retribution, and when she finds similar deaths matching her parents’, and the Fair Folk presents her and Julian, who hopes to find a way to save his brother Mark, with an offer to find the killer, she can’t turn it down. The only problem is that she may be falling for her parabatai.

Cassie’s earlier series have always been my guilty pleasure. And while I enjoyed some of her past work, Lady Midnight, the first instalment in Dark Artifices, has a stronger potential than the others. Cassie injects darker tones and arcs that have kept me on the edge.

But what I enjoy the most is how Cassie explores the faerie world in more depth, builds her characters, represents the LGBTQ community, and makes this book a character-driven piece. Because of the alliance with Jonathan, the Fair Folk lost its seat on the Council and has no protection or lands. And all Shadowhunters and the Downworlders must follow this new treaty, the Cold Peace. The Council, especially the Shadowhunters, ostracizes these people. And while the war is over, tension is now rising and causing more havoc. Cassie plays off and mirrors current political tensions in our own society.

What shines in this novel is the Blackthorn family (and in extension Emma). In City of Heavenly Fire, the Blackthorns face a devastating lost when they discover that the Wild Hunt took possession of Mark after the Seelie Queen and Jonathan gave him up to Gwyn, the leader of the Hunt. And once the treaty was enacted, their sister Helen, who is also half-fae, is banished to Wrangel Island.

 

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

For the past five years, Julian—with the help from his parabatai, Emma—has been holding his family together. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading about this broken yet determined character. That poor boy just breaks my heart. And his struggle and secrets will break yours. I love both his and Emma’s character developments. And Tiberius, who also has autism, snags what’s left of my heart.

Mark has always stuck out to me. I’ve been waiting to read his story when I last read COHF. Since the Wild Hunt took control of him, pain riddles his past. Sometimes reading his scenes was difficult to get through. But Cassie captures PTSD quite well. His love interest comes from his years in the Hunt. Unfortunately, I cannot stand Kieran, son of the Unseelie King. Fight me on my opinion, but their connection seems controlling. I felt as if Kieran owns Mark, and I hated this arc. If that love interest was written in a different way, I’d support it. Mark’s other potential love interest is with Cristina Mendoza Rosales, who I think is a breath of fresh air.

Emma stands out from the rest. Even though she lives with the Blackthorns, she survives off her vengeance alone. It fuels her need to avenge her family. She reminds me a little of Jace. Fans of the Shadowhunter world haven’t seen the disastrous consequences of parabatais falling in love. Obviously, Emma and Julian travel down this road, which has a chance to split their family apart.

With this new Shadowhunter series, Cassie gives you a dark and gritty storyline, a forbidden love, intriguing plot twists, and characters who will surely melt your heart. I’m curious to see what she has next in Lord of Shadows.