Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

*This review will contain spoilers, especially if you haven’t read the first book: Lady Midnight. However, I won’t give any spoilers away from THIS book.*

“Fiction is truth, even if it is not fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die.”

Synopsis from Goodreads – click the link to read it!

Feelings: Cassandra Clare does a lot of things well, but for me there are two stand out skills: character writing and plot twists. She writes beautifully complex characters that make me fall in love and go through a gambit of emotions. We go on these incredible journeys with them and these stories are so full of twists and turns, I literally have no idea where a story will end up. Ok…one more thing she does really well is dual stories. She can take us back and forth between two major events seamlessly. This happened a couple of times in this specific book and it kept me on the edge of my seat!

This book’s ending…I can’t. It was so beautifully, painfully well written and I had legit tears falling from my eyes as I read. So powerful in so many ways and it really set up the next book.

Issues: About halfway through the book I realized that almost every character had multiple possible love interests. Clare’s books always involve long, drawn out love triangles, but this one seemed to have a lot going on. I didn’t dislike it, necesarily, it was just a lot to process.

Characters:  I LOVE that we got to see some of our old Shadowhunter friends. There definitely had bigger roles in this story than they did in Lady Midnight and I am thrilled about it.

In my review of Lady Midnight, I said that Emma seems like the perfect combination of Clary and Jace and I stand by that. She’s sarcastic and confident like Jace, while also having the best qualities of Clary. I love that they were both around for her in this book, too. She had to make some tough decisions and will continue to, perhaps her hardest choice of all is coming soon! While I enjoy reading about her, I don’t know that I necessarily connect with her.

JULIAN. What a dynamic character. He is such a hero and he may be one of my favorite characters in the Shadowhunter universe. The way he defends those he loves and feels things so fiercely…love him.

In the first book, I wasn’t sure what to think about Kit. I especially didn’t know what to expect from his big reveal at the end. In THIS book, though, I think he comes to terms with his new life at a very realistic pace, which I appreciated. Sometimes in YA, characters embrace life changes very quickly and it can be hard to buy in to. I think Clare write Kit’s experience really well.

Ty is a character that I’m loving more and more. I love his confidence; he knows he’s different BUT he knows WHO he is. He’s surrounded by such a loving family who embrace him as he is, which has given him a really strong foundation. I can’t wait to see the direction his story takes, but I’m nervous about how he’ll be affected after the way this book ended.

Finally, I think Diana’s big secret was handled really well. Others who have gone through similar experiences may think differently and I’d be interested to hear their opinion. However, from my point of view, we knew Diana had something people didn’t know about her and I believe the character she chose to reveal her secret to was well chosen.

Final thoughts: I read this book really quickly. You wouldn’t think it was 700 pages long, but I flew through it…which is the case with all of Clare’s books. If you haven’t joined the Shadowhunter universe yet, I would NOT recommend starting with this trilogy. Read Clare’s books in publication order and then strap in for a crazy ride!

 

Goodreads rating: 4.59/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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Clockwork Angel (audiobook) by Cassandra Clare, narrated by Jennifer Ehle

*This review contains spoilers if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments series!

“In a way, we are not here just because we have nowhere else; we need nowhere else, because we have the Institute, and those who are in it are our family.”

clock-angel

Synopsis from GoodreadsIn 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 Timesbestselling 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.

Feelings: It’s been a couple of years since I read the Infernal Devices trilogy. I’m all up in this Shadowhunter world! I’ve read everything that Cassandra Clare has published and will continue to do so. I wanted to listen to the audiobooks this time around just to shake it up a little. I saw who the narrators were and was instantly excited. This first book is read by Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennet in the classic Pride and Prejudice BBC Drama.

One of the main reasons I love this book is because of the Victorian time period. The rules and social norms are so different from not only the Mortal Instruments series, but other urban fantasy stories as well. We see Tessa struggling with the way Shadowhunters interact with each other and diving into this whole new culture and it’s really fascinating to see it through her eyes.

Issues: Once again in YA, we have that whole “character is instantly accepting of change” trope. Tessa finds out she’s a shapeshifter and that all of the Shadowhunter world exists and she’s cool with it. She’s got a million questions, sure. But she’s accepting very quickly. I get it…she can’t go back so she might as well move forward. And she has the Codex to help her get situated. But still.

Will confuses the crap out of me. Can I say that? It’s like HE doesn’t even know what kind of character he’s going to be. Is he going to be the guy that changes because of a girl? Is he going to be the kind of douche bag guy who refuses to budge at ALL because of a girl? Is he an arrogant jerk? Is he just pretending? There’s zero predictability and no chance of connecting to him.

Characters: I love seeing favorite characters in this new time context. When Magnus says he has a thing for black hair and blue eyes…I got so excited. Alec is coming, Magnus! Just you wait! It’s fun to see him before he meets up with the gang in The Mortal Instruments series. In this book, we also see different familiar families: Lightwoods, Herondales, Penhallows, Carstairs, and more.

It didn’t take long for me to be reminded of how much I dislike Will Herondale. I know a lot of people think he’s the ultimate literary dream boat, but I totally disagree. He’s incredibly arrogant and proud. Yes, he’s exactly the same as Jace. Later on, after some serious character development, I can start to see how he could be somewhat likable – once his somewhat caring nature comes out – but ultimately…no. Not a fan. See “Issues” above.

Jem is totally different. Yes, he’s Will’s best friend, but I enjoy his scenes so much more than Will’s. He’s a truly kind soul and he’s probably one of my favorite characters in the Shadowhunter world. I’m excited to read about him more in the new Dark Artifices series. He’s a lot like Alec, in my opinion. Not that their personalities are the same, but they’re the best friend to the Herondale hero and are underestimated by those around them. And I end up liking them far more than said hero.

I really like Tessa. She’s strong and self assured. I like the way she acclimates to the other cast of characters and we see her fitting in. She really sees people. (Not to be confused with the previous “Issue” I mentioned.) She had a place to belong and feel special, which I loved seeing for her, as you get the feeling she’s not used to that. Tessa isn’t a damsel in distress, even considering the context of her time period.

Narrator: Jennifer Ehle’s narrating was ok…then she got to the exciting stuff. The way she called out and yelled…bothered me. I didn’t buy it, you know? She tried out a few different accents for the many characters, but it lacked consistency. She’d float in and out of accents and voices, which was a bit confusing. It ultimately made it so that I would then go back and forth between listening to the audiobook and reading it on my Kindle. (I’d give the audiobook narrator 3 stars, separate from rating the book and storyline itself.)

Final thoughts: This book wasn’t as good the second time around because I knew there were plot twists coming, even if I couldn’t remember exactly what they were. I am looking forward to continuing on with the audiobooks to see if I can remember what’s ahead! Ultimately, though, I love the Shadowhunter world. Always will. And I really do love this setting and this different cast of characters. If you like historical fiction and paranormal fantasy, I’d recommend giving this world a try (even if you didn’t love The Mortal Instruments series).

Pick this up if you liked:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5

Audible.com rating: 4.3/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Final Reading Challenge Update

I’d planned on this being my 3rd of 4 total reading challenge updates for the year, but…I’M FINISHED. That’s right, friends. I have completed my reading challenge for 2016. This year, I was motivated to complete the challenge, but to BE challenged. This list didn’t encourage me to look for certain types of books, but rather to read what I wanted and see how I could fit it into the challenge.

I’m wanting to do something different for 2017. I don’t think I want to do a list of challenges like this for the third year in a row. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, check out the list of 50 books below! For books that I wrote full reviews on, I’ve included the link to that page!

Challenges completed: 50/50

  1. A winner from the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (read my full review HERE)
  2. A book about books – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (read my full review HERE)
  3. A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  4. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (who/what/when/where/why) – What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  5. A book set more than 100 years ago – An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers (read my full review HERE)
  6. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you – The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (read my full review HERE)
  7. A book by an author who writes under more than one name – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling  (read my full review HERE)
  8. A fairytale from a culture other than your own – The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (I Googled “fairytale” and according to the world wide web, “myth” is a synonym for “fairytale”. So it’s a stretch, but I’m running with it.) (read my full review HERE)
  9. A historical fiction book – The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (read my full review HERE)
  10. An award winning book (ex: Newberry Medal, National Book Award, etc.) – Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (read my full review HERE)
  11. A book you’re embarrassed to read in public – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (read my full review HERE)
  12. A book published in 2016 – Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  13. A book with a blue spine or cover – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  14. A book with a horrible/ugly cover – Nothing But the Truth by Avi
  15. A book picked for you by someone else – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read my full review HERE)
  16. A favorite book you read for a second time – A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (read my full review HERE)
  17. A book you feel that everyone has read but you – Wolf by Wolf  by Ryan Graudin (read my full review HERE)
  18. A book recommended by a famous person – For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (read my full review HERE)
  19. A book you know nothing about – Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  20. A book set in the country of your ancestors – An Honest Heart by Kaye Dacus (read my full review HERE)
  21. A book with a child as the main character – Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  22. A book with an unreliable narrator – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (read my full review HERE)
  23. A book whose main character shares your name (first, middle, or last) – Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  24. A book set during a war (historical or fictional war) – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
  25. A chick-lit book – This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  26. A book written before you were born – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (read my full review HERE)
  27. A collection of poems – The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (While it may not be a “collection” of poems, there were poems throughout it. So I’m counting it. Ha!) (read my full review HERE)
  28. A book outside your comfort zone (genre, topic, number of pages, etc.) –The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (read my full review HERE)
  29. A book about second chances – Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado (read my full review HERE)
  30. A prequel to a book series – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (read my full review HERE)
  31. A book that has more than one author – Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  32. A book by an author who is from a different country – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  33. A book that’s an author’s debut novel – That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  34. A book that you got for free – Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson
  35. A book that was made into a movie, TV series, or mini-series – Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen [Movie version = How to Deal] (read my full review HERE)
  36. A play that was adapted into a musical or a movie – Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  37. A book that’s on the bestseller list – Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  38. A book spun off from another book – The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
  39. A book that made you laugh out loud – Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs (read my full review HERE)
  40. An audiobook –Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (read my full review HERE)
  41. A book your grandma (or other family member) loves – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  42. A book with a nonhuman protagonist – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (read my full review HERE)
  43. A book that takes place at a university – The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright (read my full review HERE)
  44. A mystery or thriller – I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
  45. A book recommended by a blog or Booktube video – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson (read my full review HERE)
  46. A book that takes place during a holiday – Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (read my full review HERE)
  47. A book you own, but haven’t read – The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (read my full review HERE)
  48. A book that you’ve “been meaning to read” – Ms. Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
  49. A book you read with a friend or a book club – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  50. A book you saw someone reading – Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (read my full review HERE)

 Are you working towards completing a reading challenge? Do you have any recommendations for a 2017 Reading Challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

5 Terrible Book to Movie Adaptations

I have always been a big movie fan, just as much as I’m a reading fan. However, I’m not an expert on film making. I can cook a mean breakfast and I have great handwriting, but I’m not a filmmaker. It’s just not one of my gifts. I’m also one of those strange book-reading-individuals that doesn’t hate book to movie adaptations. I love seeing how someone else interpreted a story that I’ve read. Sure, I play it all out in my head and have a dream cast all picked out, but I’m not married to those ideas. I’m open!

With that said, I know a terrible adaptation when I see one. I may still watch it and find it entertaining, but I recognize its shortcomings in comparison to the original work. Here are 5 book to movie adaptations that I’d categorize as “terrible”. I’m categorizing them that way based on the quality and adaptation of the book. You may disagree. I’m totally okay with that! In a couple of weeks, I’ll tell you which adaptations that I LOVE!

bones movie

The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, in particular)

I’ve already reviewed the first book in this series, as well as the movie and the TV show HERE. I think the movie is pretty terrible. Even if I think about it objectively, not comparing it to the book in any way, it’s pretty meh and mostly confusing. The casting was 50/50 and it was just a big jumble. Magnus was a let down, Alec was kind of a creep, and Valentine was a freaking weirdo.

twilight

Twilight saga (but mostly the first movie)

You guys, I can’t. It’s super terrible, on a scale of terrible to super terrible. Even if you can get past the crap acting (which I can’t), it’s so hokey. Oh, you’re not familiar with that word? It comes from the word “hokum”, meaning nonsense. Nonsense, I say! With the vampire sparkle and ugh…granted, how could they have done that in a non-silly way? The book has some pretty nonsensical lines that are cheesy and all, but I didn’t really understand just how cheesy they were exactly until I heard them said by these actors.  (They did get better as the others were released, in some ways. The first movie is still pretty bad, though.)

lightning

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Ok, friends…I love this book series. I have this exact movie poster in my classroom and I refer to the books all the time. But I don’t like the adaptation of the first book. As an individual movie, without any ties to the books, I like it okay. As an adaptation, it’s mildly terrible. There are quite a few events that played out differently in the movie than it did in the book, changing the entire direction of the plot line, making things all fall together in a strange way.

ella

Ella Enchanted

Now that you know the meaning of the word “hokey”, let’s also apply it here. It’s…a…musical? This is almost a completely different story. In the book, the central conflict is Ella’s curse and how she’s going to break it. In the movie, she has multiple characters that are against her, jumbling up what the core story is really about. I think the movie has it’s entertainment value, sure. I just think it needs a different title, because it’s not the same story as the book.

hp az

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I didn’t realize how terrible of an adaptation this was until I recently re-read this book. You guys…SO MUCH information is missing from the movie! It’s like they took all of the blood pumping moments and left the other important bits behind. The depth of the story and a huge chunk of the Potter family backstory was left out, which is a shame because it’s so interesting. I like the movie, on its own, but I was really disappointed when I realized how much was left out.

What are some book to movie adaptations you don’t like? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading and watching! – Caitlyn

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

**I’ll start with the non-spoilery stuff, then I’ll give you sufficient warning before the spoiler-filled conversation begins!

“When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins…And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them. “

lady midnight

Synopsis from Goodreads – just click the link to read it!

Spoiler-Free Feelings: I was on vacation when all 720 pages of this beautiful hardcover landed at my door. I decided that I would re-read the last few chapters of City of Heavenly Fire on the plane ride home, so that I’d be ready for this trip back to the Shadow World. I’m glad I did. It was like warming up in preparation for a marathon. I’d also highly recommend that you read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy before you begin this new trilogy. There are a few things that either won’t make total sense or that you’ll just straight up miss if you haven’t read those novellas…ESPECIALLY when you read the extra Jace & Clary story at the end!

I honestly didn’t LOVE Jace and Clary when I was reading The Mortal Instruments series. I just couldn’t connect with either of them. The reason I finished that series was because I loved everyone else – Magnus, Alec, Simon, and Isabelle – and I was desperate to know how things turned out for them. I also love that while their series has wrapped up, they keep popping up in her other books and novellas, so their story doesn’t end!

This new trilogy follows Emma Carstairs and the slew of Blackthorns in Los Angeles, who were highly involved in the last Mortal Instruments book. We saw a couple of the Blackthorns in the Shadowhunter Academy novellas, but I love that we now have a whole trilogy about them. I love how the younger Blackthorns have grown up and their awareness of pop culture, unlike our friends at the NY Institute. Because they live in LA, they’re just around it more. There were little quirks throughout that were so different from TMI and I liked that. It didn’t feel like the same old Shadowhunter story.

Emma is the perfect combination of Clary and Jace. I don’t love either of those characters, but I did like Emma! She’s the best of both of them and yet is still her own individual person. And Julian…JULIANmarryme.

In this book, we learn a lot about the Fair Folk and their customs, history, and ways. We know a lot about werewolves and vampires from the previous books, but the Fae have had a bit of mystery around them. The insight from Mark and Co. was really intriguing!

The plotline made so much sense. Everything kept building and building, and it all just clicked into place. I didn’t have any moments of wait…that makes no sense. She’s built such a complete, dense world and yet doesn’t double dip or contradict what she’s written before. That surprises me every time I read one of her books. This book had twists and turns and I enjoyed every second of it.

 

STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GET SPOILED

 

No seriously…trust me, you don’t want to keep going with this review if you haven’t read this book yet.

Spoiler-Filled Feelings: YOU GUYS I’M FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW

I literally just finished reading it as I sit here typing. That ending was out of control, friends. OUT OF CONTROL. I did not see the whole Kit thing coming. He did not feel important whatsoever (even thought the beginning was from his perspective) and I never would have made the connection between him and the Herondale baby that Catarina raised. Where is this going?? These family trees…also out of control. I feel like I need to print one out as a reference.

You know what else is out of control? The sexual tension. Sweet Jesus, the sexual tension. I need synonyms for “out of control.”

So, I understand why Emma is pushing Julian away and I’m SO GLAD we finally have some kind of explanation for why the Law forbids parabatai from falling in love. I get it…I get it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t rip my heart in two. We saw how their parabatai power increased as Emma and Julian got closer, but I feel like they’ll be able to control it or get around it somehow. Clare always has some kind of loophole in placed (enter Jem Carstairs/Brother Zachariah). But also…what happened when Malcom was all fire-balling her arm? Did that rune seriously endure warlock fire?

But now MARK? Uggghhhh I feel like I’m going to hate where that’s going. It’s kind of creepy and also a terrible idea. Julian and Mark were juuussstttt starting to get back to bro status. Consider bro status destroyed if this continues.

I have high hopes that the next 2 books in this series focus around Kit and his Herondale-ness with a bit of Mark figuring out his place in the world. And more Jem. And more Jem and Tessa. I really hope it doesn’t turn into Emma and Julian, Emma and Mark, and God forbid…Emma and Kit.

I’ll be honest…when Christina first saw Kieran and Mark together, I thought, OF COURSE, Cassandra Clare…OF COURSE. I just have learned to always expect a secret love affair out of nowhere in her books. I had high hopes for Mark and Christina, and now that he feels so betrayed by Kieran…I’m curious about what’s going to happen now. But with the whole “secret” between him and Emma now…ugh what is happening?

Okay, the whole Lady Midnight part was really interesting. But what the heck? She’s totally going to come back now…I mean…she’s AWAKE. I’m not convinced that Malcom is dead…he’s a freaking warlock! Emma survived the ocean porthole thing, why can’t Malcom? And what’s going to be ye olde Blackthorn’s end game when she comes back to life like Frankenstein’s monster? Is she going to get revenge on the Blackthorn family for her death? And for Malcom’s demise?

Final thoughts: I liked The Mortal Instruments. I LOVED The Infernal Devices. This book fell somewhere in the middle…but closer on the spectrum to TID than TMI, if you catch my drift. I have a lot of hopes for this trilogy. I seriously read this 720 page whopper in a little more than a day. Cassandra Clare’s writing is so engaging and enthralling, as she’s proven time and time again.

The more I think about reasons to dock my rating down from a perfect 5, I can’t really find any. It had everything I love in a story…plus I’m so invested in this world due to all of the books that I’ve read multiple times, so I’m a little bit biased. It was just so dang enjoyable.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads rating: 4.52/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5

My rating: 5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Reading Challenge Update #1

We’re about one quarter through 2016 – whhhaaaaaat? That’s out of control, friends. As you may or may not know, I created a reading challenge for myself in order to branch out in my reading. Below, I’ve bolded the challenges I’ve completed and included the title that allowed me to cross that off my list. (I just finished re-reading the last few chapters of City of Heavenly Fire in preparation for Cassandra Clare’s new Lady Midnight. So, that’s a book I’ll be starting today!)

Challenges completed: 14/50

  1. A winner from the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards
  2. A book about books – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  3. A book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge
  4. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (who/what/when/where/why)
  5. A book set more than 100 years ago – The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (read my full review HERE)
  6. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
  7. A book by an author who writes under more than one name
  8. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
  9. A historical fiction book – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (read my full review HERE)
  10. An award winning book (ex: Newberry Medal, National Book Award, etc.)
  11. A book you’re embarrassed to read in public – The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis
  12. A book published in 2016
  13. A book with a blue spine or cover
  14. A book with a horrible/ugly cover
  15. A book picked for you by someone else
  16. A favorite book you read for a second time – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (read my full review HERE)
  17. A book you feel that everyone has read but you
  18. A book recommended by a famous person
  19. A book you know nothing about – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read my full review HERE)
  20. A book set in the country of your ancestors
  21. A book with a child as the main character – Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Daysby G. Willow Wilson
  22. A book with an unreliable narrator
  23. A book whose main character shares your name (first, middle, or last)
  24. A book set during a war (historical or fictional war)
  25. A chick-lit book
  26. A book written before you were born
  27. A collection of poems
  28. A book outside your comfort zone (genre, topic, number of pages, etc.)
  29. A book about second chances – Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado
  30. A prequel to a book series
  31. A book that has more than one author – Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson (read my full review HERE)
  32. A book by an author who is from a different country
  33. A book that’s an author’s debut novel – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  34. A book that you got for free
  35. A book that was made into a TV movie, series, or mini-series
  36. A play that was adapted into a musical or a movie – Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  37. A book that’s on the bestseller list
  38. A book spun off from another book  (examples: Death Comes to PemberleyPride & Prejudice & ZombiesConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister)
  39. A book that made you laugh out loud – For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
  40. An audiobook
  41. A book your grandma (or other family member) loves
  42. A book with a nonhuman protagonist – Ms. Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
  43. A book that takes place at a university
  44. A mystery or thriller
  45. A book recommended by a blog or Booktube video
  46. A book that takes place during a holiday
  47. A book you own, but haven’t read
  48. A book that you’ve “been meaning to read”
  49. A book you read with a friend or a book club – The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (read my full review HERE)
  50. A book you saw someone reading

How far are you in your reading goals for 2016? Do you have any suggestions for the challenges I have left? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

**Well, friends…the WordPress app betrayed me and posted this review like a month early. Oh well! Rolling with it, Shadowhunter style. 

*There will be spoilers, if you haven’t read pretty much everything Cassandra Clare has written. Lol.*

shadowhunter academy

Synopsis from Goodreads: The series follows the adventures of Simon Lewis, one of the stars of Cassandra Clare’s internationally bestselling series The Mortal Instruments , as he trains to become a Shadowhunter. Throughout the course of Simon’s education, characters from the Mortal Instruments and the The Infernal Devices will make appearances, as will characters from the upcoming The Dark Artifices series and Last Hours series. Once a mundane, then a vampire, Simon prepares to enter the next phase of his life: Shadowhunter. 

I checked out most of these eBooks from my local library’s Overdrive system, but some of them I had to buy for my Kindle. They aren’t released in a hardback binding yet, so if you want to read them, you have to read the novellas one at a time.

  1. Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy – 4 stars [I liked this as an introduction to the academy and how Simon is now that his memories are gone. Some of the other characters were interesting to meet, knowing their ancestors from the other books.]
  2. The Lost Herondale – 4 stars [I really love all the history and long, interconnected family trees in this world. So for me, this novella was like candy that I gobbled right up. Then I’d get bored for a little while. And repeat. I desperately hope this lost Herondale shows up at some point! Ahh, the possibilities!]
  3. The Whitechapel Fiend – 4.5 stars [More Shadowhunter history! Wahoo! This was especially interesting, but that’s really all this story had to it. Plus some of Jace’s sass, which I do enjoy occasionally. And Tessa. Sweet, sweet Tessa.]
  4. Nothing But Shadows – 4 stars [I was pretty bored at first, but I later enjoyed learning some more information about Will and Tessa’s family and the kids of other Infernal Devices characters that I love. Seeing how Tessa’s demon blood manifested itself in her son was really intriguing. I hope we get more info on James!]
  5. The Evil We Love – 3.5 stars [Well, I still hate Robert Lightwood. But again, you gotta love getting some more back story and character back-development! Even if there’s a bit of  meh mixed in.]
  6. Pale Kings and Princes – 4.5 stars [Ooohhhh! This one was really good! I loved that we got to see Helen again, but we also got to hear more of the story of her parents and the twisty truth! And two thumbs up for some Sizzy reconciliation.]
  7. Bitter of Tongue – 4 stars [I really hope that Clare’s new series leads to some kind of rescue for poor Mark and some faerie reconciliation. I loved getting an update on all the Blackthorn kids and this novella made me even more excited for Lady Midnight!]
  8. The Fiery Trial – 4.25 stars [A liked this one a little more than some, but not as much as others. I’m really excited to see where Clary and Simon’s bond goes and that he’s getting some memories back!]
  9. Born to Endless Night – 4 stars [Loving what’s happening with Malec & fam! Also nice to see different sides of sommeee people. ]
  10. Angels Twice Descending – 4.75 stars [I loved this from start to finish…a great ending to this novella collection. Plus, it has me really excited for the series to continue!]

Final thoughts: If you’re “all in” with this series, like I am, then you have to read these. Sure, some were way better than others, but each one added to the Shadowhunter world. 

Pick this up if you liked:

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (see my review of the first book, the TV show, and the movie HERE)

The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads rating: 4.24/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn