3/25/13

Book Review: Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare

Author Site:  Cassandra Clare
Genre:  Young Adult: Fiction - Paranormal, Steam Punk, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):


Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy
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.

My Review:  
I have been sitting on the conclusion of this series for a couple of days now.  The Infernal Devices has been my favorite series since I accidently stumbled upon Clockwork Angel two years ago.  I mean, who could resist Will’s charm and wit?  Aside from that, I love Cassandra Clare’s writing style, and even though I’m pretty done with The Mortal Instruments series (done, as in, I’m kind of tired of the characters, etc, not finished..there is still another book left) I was thankful for this offshoot – same world different story, series.  And I have fallen more in love with these characters than I could ever have fallen for Jace and Clary.  I think it’s the setting, and the mix of ego and wit and proper manners.  Oh, and don’t forget all that literature.  It was a reader’s paradise.  And Will is a reader’s ideal guy.   I mean….you know that movie, Practical Magic, with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock?  You know how she puts together all of these unrealistic qualities for the guy she wants to fall in love with and sends it off into the night?  Will Herondale would be my all time “unrealistic qualities” guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my husband…but black hair, blue eyes, utterly romantic to the core AND loves to read??? 


So yes, I have been waiting on pins and needles for Clockwork Princess to release, and at the same time, a little sad that the series was coming to an end.  I have read and re-read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince over and over and over again.  Time will only tell if I do the same again now that the series has ended.  I loved the book.  It was a perfect wrap-up of all the crazy little pieces of information just floating out there in the air.  I choose to purchase the audiobook, since I already had CWA and CWP on audio, figured it was only appropriate.  When I listen to audiobooks, I listed while I work, and I’m sure I make a spectacle of myself sitting in my small (man-made) corner of the world snickering at something Will or Jem, or even Gabriel and Gideon have said.  The book started off with me laughing a lot, but as expected, things got serious pretty quickly.  And sad.  How could it not?  I mean, there are inevitable things coming, we’ve seen them coming all along.  The bittersweet quality of this book makes me shy away from the thought of reading it over and over as I have the previous two. 

A list of things that I loved about the story:  One, I was almost correct about Tessa and what/who she was.  I was so very, very close; but for whatever reason, what I thought was HER, was actually her mother (sorry for the vagueness..it’s purposeful).  But I was close enough to feel that sense of “ah-ha-ness” about being right.  I also love Sophie and Gideon.  Gideon and the scones and, well, their entire relationship played out so nicely.  It was a perfect off –shoot story to include in the mix of the craziness that was Clockwork Princess.  I was just okay with Cecily being drawn into the story for this last book, but felt her presence was kind of minor and could have been worked around and cut out pretty easily.  I liked her, don’t get me wrong, but she seemed to only be on the outskirts of the entire thing.  The best, best, best part of the book though, was Mortmain’s ultimate demise.  I LOVED how that played out, and I did not see that coming – although I probably should have.

Okay – on to what’s really on my mind.  Here is where you stop reading if you haven’t read this book yet.  It is VERY spoilery, but I have to talk about it to someone!  Please stop now if you haven’t read this book  - I hate ruining things for people.  In fact, I’m going to change the text color.  Highlight below to read.



Okay, so, the scene between Tessa and Will; EVERYTHING I would have wanted.  So beautifully done and just, yes!  I have always, always been on “Team Will” and I like Jem’s character, but I never felt like Tessa was near as drawn to him as she was Will, ever.  I felt like her love for him was almost more sisterly than it was passion.  So when Jem became a silent brother (my friend figured this one out during the last Mortal Instrument’s book btw), I was kind of happy, and was hoping for that to be the end of it.   Then came the epilogue. 

First of all, when we [readers] wish to know what happens next after the end of a book…we don’t really want to know what happens next.  We just think we do.  To “watch” Will grow older and die, leaving Tessa alone was heart wrenching.  I was crying and…I quite honestly was thinking about growing old with my husband.  I was starting to suffocate with the idea of only having so few precious days with him and our children and…well, of course I know that.  But to watch something like that play out in less than ten minutes was very difficult.  Then, to bring Jem back into the picture for her to start over again.  I am just not sure if I liked it or not.  I mean, it’s nice to think that she will get another chance at love, and will not be lonely for another lifetime, but this is just something I don’t…I don’t know.  I don’t know how to put it into words.  The girl isn’t suppose to get both guys.  She isn’t suppose to have her big red bow at the end, and then also get a big silver bow also.  It kind of had that (PLEASE DON’T HATE ME) Twilight feel about it.  You know, how Bella was suppose to have to give up these aspects of her life to be with her one true love.  It was a sacrifice she was making – and then, instead it was all worked out and worked around so that she could have EVERYTHING.  It kind of just leaves me with the feeling of …eh?!  I just don’t know.  I can honestly say, this is a whole new approach to the “love triangle” though.

I love this series.  I love these characters.  I loved the wit, and the heartache.  I love the some-what, but not over-the-top steampunk quality to it (because let’s face it, Steampunk books have a tendency to tip a bit over the top…)  Thank you, Mrs. Cassandra Clare, for delighting your readers with your amazing ability to create new worlds and placing us readers right in the midst of it.  I appreciate it, and look forward to some new stuff from you soon!

3/22/13

First Encounters Fridays - 3/22/13

First Encounters Friday is something new I'm trying out.  Here I will give you a little glimpse into a book I've read or currently reading - it will be the very first meeting of two main characters, whether it's the first time they have ever met, or the first time they have encountered each other within the book.

Today's encounter is from The Rogue's Princess by Eve Edwards

Who we are meeting: Kit Turner and Mercy Hart

        "Mistress Hart, tell me, do you enjoy hearing a play?"
        The sea of rainbow skirts parted as the Belknap girls turned to their guest, granting him his first clear sight of her. Kit felt as if he had just been thrown from the saddle. He had not been expecting to encounter such a creature in an alderman's parlor.

3/19/13

Happy Book Release Day: Clockwork Princess


Happy book release day to Cassandra Clare for the final installment of The Infernal Devices Series – Clockwork Princess

Much like the rest of us, I’ve been waiting over a year for this book.  This has been my favorite series since I stumbled upon Clockwork Angel – not even realizing Cassandra Clare had another series coming out.  I absolutely love that book.  I’ve read both Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince about five times each..and here we are!!  Clockwork Princess!!  Finally.

And it will have to wait.  Unfortunately for me – I need to wait until 1.  I finish my current book/books in progress.  And more importantly 2.  I have the money to buy it.  I have the other two on audio AND Clockwork Prince in ebook…I’m still trying to decide on whether to do audio or ebook.  What I’d really love is a hardback of the entire series for my shelf…alas, I have three kids, a husband and…priorities!

3/18/13

Book Review: The Rogues Princess - Eve Edwards

Author's Site:  Eve Edwards
Genre: Young Adult - Historical, Romance, Fiction
Form: e-book

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
1586 – London, England. Sixteen-year-old Mercy Hart is the daughter of one of London’s richest – and strictest – cloth merchants. Kit Turner is an actor and the illegitimate son of the late Earl of Dorset. A chance encounter finds Kit falling for the beautiful Mercy’s charms, but their love is forbidden. A merchant’s daughter and a vagabond – it simply cannot be. If Mercy chooses Kit she must renounce her family name and leave her home. Will she favour duty over true love, or will she give Kit his heart’s desire?

My Review:   I was intrigued by this book, because it was compared to Philippa Gregory’s writing, and I’ve always loved her books.  I’m not sure I would go that far, however.  Where Philippa Gregory goes rather in depth in the intrigue as a well as emotions, Eve Edwards kept everything pretty surface level.  Instead of feeling like I was involved in the story, I felt more like I was watching it from a distance.  I would have liked to have felt more emotion from both Kit and Mercy, it doesn’t work to just say that the emotions were there, it has to be drawn out of the reader. 

I loved the setting though.  As the book opened, I was immediately sucked into the movie Shakespeare in Love, with the play house, and the religious heretics yelling from the street.  Of course, at the time I didn’t realize that that was the EXACT setting of the book, so it was a pleasant surprise to find I was right. 

I did love the characters, and the story.  I must say, my absolute favorite part was Kit out in the sand acting out his short poem for Mercy.  It was sweet and silly and just all around cute.  The story barely scraped the surface of scandal and problems.  I would have loved more details.  All around, I would have just loved a bit more book.

Regardless, The Rogue’s Princess was a quick, fun read.  Perfect for young teenagers and clean-reader adults alike.

3/17/13

Book Review: Requiem

Author:  Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult - Fiction, Dystopian, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.


My Review: In preparation for this book, I listened to Pandemonium again - mostly because I couldn't quite remember everything that happened, and I wanted to make sure that I got the full effect of the final book. The thing that stuck with me the first time and the next time I listened to the book was this; it's unfair! I didn't want there to be the battle of two boys and one girl. But of course that is what we get.

So here we are. The final book of the Delirium series, and this book is about finally breaking free of the oppression of a government who wants to control everything about the lives of....well everyone. By suppressing feelings of love and hate, they feel that they can create a perfect, safe world, but as it is in any world scenario - there are always exceptions and people who do not want to follow the rules. And in this case, the rule breakers are right. To live without emotion is no way to live at all.

Requiem focuses mostly on the battles to come, planning, plotting and achieving the goal of overturning a corrupt government. This is expected and desired of the third book - I have no complaints there. The thing that was missing a from the book was the relationship between the characters. I felt all interactions between characters was surface level at best. Most of the time conversations were glossed over. Sometimes, all of the dialogue that could have happened was summed up in a paragraph, something like, "and for the remainder of the week we got to know each other." (Those were my words, not a direct quote, by the way.) This disappoints me because the best part about books for me is usually character interactions. It's what makes a great book in my opinion. And this particular book was flush full of opportunities for good dialogue.

The entire book isn't that way, mind you - there are exceptions, like the first real dialogue between Lana and Alex. Lots of emotion there. But there was not much to be had between Julian and Lana, no matter how much we may or may not have fallen in love with Julian in the last book. Lana just sort of used him throughout this entire book, and was very patronizing toward him as well; I was actually looking forward to Julian giving her the what for because of that, but he never did. Lana was all consumed with thoughts of Alex almost the entire time, and continued to use Julian to keep her warm at night. If you're trying to figure things out, you really shouldn't take advantage of someone's emotions while you're doing it. Just my opinion.

If I wasn't so focused on the Lana/Alex/Julian triangle, and the lack of....anything, I might have had the chance to really enjoy the addition of Hana's voice to the book, which in hindsight turned out to be the best parts of the book...but instead of savoring the offshoot of the story, I was too consumed with the passion that was lacking - which I found utterly ironic since it was suppose to be "passion" they were fighting for.

3/15/13

First Encounters Friday - 3/15/13

First Encounters Friday is something new I'm trying out.  Here I will give you a little glimps into a book I've read or currently reading - it will be the very first meeting of two main characters, whether it's the first time they have ever met, or the first time they have encountered each other within the book.

Today's First Encounter comes from Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Who are we meeting:  Julie Lichtenstein and Jason Lippincott

        Right then the plane bounces hard, and I am shot out of the bathroom like a cannon ball. A pair of arms saves me from bashing my head into the narrow doorway. I look up to see Jason Lippincott steadying me on my feet.
        "Book Licker!" He says, invoking my least favorite junior-high nickname. He grins, several freckles on his forehead scrunching together. "Enjoying the flight?"

3/7/13

Book Review: Unravel Me - Tahereh Mafi

Author Site: Tahereh Mafi
 Form:  eBook, Nook
 Genre: Young Adult - Dystopia, Romance, Fiction

Synopsis (from Goodreads):   
tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.


My Review:  I just finished reading this book literally 5 minutes ago, and I can tell you that I have a myriad of emotions to go along with it.  I devoured this book.  I can't believe I held off as long as I did to read it, except I was hoping it would end up on the libraries downloadables (since Shatter Me and Destroy Me are both there).  So while waiting, I re-read Shatter Me, then read Destroy Me, waited another week and finally bought Unravel Me.

So one, teenage angst + mentally unstable = a little bit much for me.  Adam was WAY over the top with his feelings, but it seems to be the theme of these books.  Everyone FEELS every little word, emotion, thought as if they were taking some kind of "feelings steroid."   It makes for good reading though, I suppose.  I mean, if my husband would confess to the type of love as Adam...and Warren apparently have...well, geez, I'd be a puddle of goo on the floor too.

So, here we go with the love triangle, which I think is horribly unfair.  Tahereh Mafi sort of has me going for the underdog in this one, which is unusual for me.  I'm usually pretty straightforward.  However, the unfair part is this; you CANNOT have your characters say things like "I've loved you forever," and "I've always loved you," and have these heart wrenching encounters, and then turn around and have mixed feelings.  (Well, I guess you can, I mean..here it is.  She did it.  It's definitely possible.)  But you all get what I'm saying, right?  I just..I can't...I can't wrap my mind around it.  I guess I like the big red bow.  And I've already admitted to a desperate hate for love triangles.  NEW THEME AUTHORS...PLEASE RELEASE US FROM THIS STUPIDITY!  :)

Why am I being so mean to this book?  I love it.  I already said I devoured it.  Every word.  Okay...one more complaint.  I really hope Juliette does not go back to wishy-washy in book three.  This back and forth is giving me mental whip-lash.  Do you want to fight, are you strong, or do you want to cower in a corner and cry and feel guilty about every little last thing in your life.  Again...teenage angst.  Arg!

Okay, so despite the angst, and the back and forth, and the triangle....I have to say, I think I just must love Tahereh Mafi's writing.  It seems like too much, but I find myself wanting more.  I find myself just wanting to eat it up or finding a spot to hide and just live there.  That doesn't happen very often.  Another bonus for me, I think the last book that made me flush was Clockwork Prince - and it's been over a year since that came out (even though I've read it 5 times - the first time is always the best).  The book just barely stayed on this side of decent...but again, I was gobbling up ever last drop!

Thank you, Ms Mafi, for your words and your story!  Despite my complaints, you still earn the full 5 stars, I mean...really.  I imagine I'll be re-reading these again before book 3 is released.

3/4/13

Book Review: Someone Else's Fairytale - Emily Mah Tippetts

Author Website:  Emily Mah Tippetts
Form: eBook
Genre: Adult (18-20's) - Fiction, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Jason Vanderholt, Hollywood's hottest actor, falls head over heels for everygirl, Chloe Winters, who hasn't gotten around to watching most of his movies. She becomes the woman every other woman in America is dying to be, but it just isn't her fairytale.

My Review:  
Honestly, I feel like I’ve sort of read this book before.  Why? Because I think that the concept of a non-famous girl falling in love with a super-mega movie star is a hot concept right now.  I mean, think about it – dream come true, right?  Or not.  I think it depends on who you are.  (The other book, by the way, was Love Unscripted…in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, apart from their very similar concept, Love Unscripted and Someone Else’s Fairytale are quite different.  Mostly in the main character, Chloe.  Chloe is very down to earth.  She wants nothing major, especially not the attention that being the girlfriend of actor Jason Vanderholt would bring.  She isn’t the jealous type, very logical and slow to judge people, however she’s also very slow on the uptake.  She questions even the remote possibility that something could come from the friendship with Jason.

I am thankful not to have had to deal with another book of jealous, super insecure thoughts from the female lead.  I probably would have immediately put the book down.  I will say that while I got wrapped up in the story – I never once felt much of a connection to the characters in Someone Else’s Fairytale.  I always felt like we were skirting on the boundaries of who these people were.  I think part of that problem came from the lack of chemistry between Chloe and Jason themselves.  Sure they talked, went out and did things together, and even Skyped – but I felt like all of their interactions were very surface deep.  I really can’t put my finger on why – or how authors bring out this chemistry, while others don’t.  I do know that abstinence was a very important issue to author Emily Mah Tippetts, and I agree with her.  I liked that about this book, but I kind of think that the focus on it was a bit too heavy, and at times weird.  Then there was Matthew, who came off kind of nice at first, but then ended up kind of judgmental.  I don’t understand the switch.

Then there’s the sub-plot of Chloe’s relationship with Jason’s sort-of niece, Kyra.  Kyra is a troubled teenage girl who thinks she’s in love with an older guy, and thinks her entire family hates her.  The family is amazed that Kyra opens up to Chloe and actually talks to her, but Chloe is very apprehensive and stand-offish about it.  Her attempts at helping seem really weak and half-hearted to me.  But in the end, apparently Chloe says and does the exact right thing to turn Kyra’s life around.  It was really weird.

Then the OTHER sub-plot, Chloe’s half-brother who tried to kill her.  The book sort of started off all danger and cops and stalker brother-like.  But then there is like no climax to this.  They go to court, and eventually the brother gets caught on some other issues and is sent back to jail.  Then there is the cop who’s all like, “this issue is going to follow you, and never really go away…” but nothing more happens.  Yes, this was an obvious setup for a second book – but really?  Why? 
In the end, while I was okay with reading this book, I didn’t hate it or anything – I actually did get lost in it and found I couldn’t put it down at some points, but in the end it just left me kind of dry and…just wanting a little bit more.

3/3/13

Book Quote: Destroy Me - Tahereh Mafi

I'm gearing up to read Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, and for some reason I never read Destroy Me when it first came out...not sure why.  So after waiting for 2 weeks - I finally got the novella via my library's downloadable section.  Here's a short segment that just rings truth of today:

"We followed the tale laid out for us, the prose pinned down in every square foot of space we'd acquired.  We were content with the plot twists that only mildly redirected our lives.  We signed on the dotted line for the things we didn't know we cared about.  We ate the things we shouldn't, spent money when we couldn't, lost sight of the Earth we had to inhabit and wasted wasted wasted everything.  Food.  Water.  Resources."
Destroy Me, Pg 50 - Tahereh Mafi