Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

“Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.”

Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here with my most anticipated read of 2017 and most likely my favorite book from 2017.

Stars (Out of 10): 10

Overall Thoughts: Honestly, this has got to be the best Cassandra Clare book out there. I was hooked from start to finish. The book was so complex but came together so beautifully in the end. It did not suffer the second book curse at all, it was amazing. I loved Lady Midnight so much and Lord of Shadows just blew me away.

The Good: The characters are just so well developed. One of the reasons this is my favorite Shadowhunter series is because the characters are not trying to save the world, but everytime they try to get out of saving the world, they just get more and more involved in it. They just want to save themselves and the Blackthorn family and they just get stuck in this huge political mess. There are so many plots in this book and, at first, it’s overwhelming but they all end up coming together in the end in such an interconnected way. Furthermore, Kit Herondale’s POV is honestly the best, least complicated POV in this book and I just died laughing everytime he had a POV. This book is just all my favorite things come together.

The Bad: This is just a me thing, but Julian and Emma had the most boring POVs toward the middle of the book. If you diehard ship them, their POVs would be amazing, but I kid you not, I found myself skimming so many times and then would have to go back and figure out what I missed. Also, if Julian uses one more metaphor, ONE more metaphor, I will end him.

Major spoilers begin below!

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The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

“Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .”

 

-Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Hey guys! Allison here. This time it’s not an ARC, but one of my most anticipated releases of 2017.

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5/10

Overall Thoughts: Rick Riordan does it again in yet another amazing, humorous story that is just getting better and better. One of the best parts of the Trials of Apollo series is that, so far, the books have been very contained. They often stick to one location per book with a group of recurring characters. I can’t explain why, but I feel that benefits a story like this better. The characters are a driving force behind the Trials of Apollo and it’s amazing.

The Good: The characters are amazing and are so developed! Apollo’s character development is astounding. What he did in the end blew me away. I didn’t think he could grow so much. It’s just beautiful. The Trials of Apollo also keeps up the habit of embracing diversity, from a same sex kiss to a lesbian couple to Apollo’s amazing very bisexual thoughts. On the other hand, The Dark Prophecy begins to embrace a darker side. It begins to border the young adult genre in certain scenes and I love it! It’s shocking and keeps me hooked.

The Bad: The humor sometimes get’s a little bit too much. At least, it’s not my type of humor at some points. Some parts were underwhelming, but that may have been due to my high expectations of some plot points.

Minor spoilers begin below!

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

“One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

 

-Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Hello Allison here! I gobbled up this book in one day. I could barely put it down. This book is a must read for 2017!

I would like to start off by saying that I received this arc from the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017. Thank you to the publisher’s for this opportunity. This means some details might have changed by the time this book was published.

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10

Overall Thoughts: There is no question why this book is being hyped up so much. It is a fantastic mystery. I’m used to plots like this where it’s like “Who did it?” but really it’s some random character. This book doesn’t do that. There are hints all throughout the book. This isn’t just oh Suzie from down the street was the murderer all along. There are actual hints that if you pay close enough attention, you will solve the murder by the end of the book. For that, this book already deserves 5 stars. Also, it amazingly takes stereotypes (and I mean complete stereotypes) and completely twists them around by the end of the book.

The Good: Everything. The plot is intricately constructed in a way that is seamless. Every action has a consequence. The characters are so dimensional and just are so interesting. You want to know their secrets so bad and when they finally come out, some being more predictable than others, it’s amazing. And some of them have more than one secret, which is all the better.  Also, my least favorite trope gets subverted multiple times! The characters actually tell important people their secrets before someone else tells their secrets. This is so much better than the person being like “Hmmm better not tell anyone this. I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face later…”

The Bad: The epilogue almost paints Bronwyn and Nate to be the protagonists when in fact, all four characters are. Likewise, the beginning of the epilogue (like the first two pages) doesn’t really fit the characters at all. Otherwise, no complaints from me!

The Characters: I love my Murder Club children. Every character is just so much more than their stereotype. Bronwyn is a lot more than just the smart girl. She knows what she wants, she is driven, and she doesn’t judge once you show your true colors. Nate is beyond just the drug dealer stereotype. He knows what he’s doing is wrong, but he does what it takes to survive. He is also willing to change for the better. Addy deserves a ribbon for most character development. The person she started out as and the person she ends as are so completely different that I would never have believed you if you told me what she would end up like. Cooper is so so relatable. He is trying so hard to be perfect, beyond perfect really. Everyone sees him as so perfect but he’s really just trying his best and he has so much more in him. The best part about these four characters together is that they build upon each other, changing each other’s views. Nate teaches Bronwyn that people who do bad things aren’t always doing them for bad reasons. Addy and Cooper teach the rest that the popular person isn’t always perfect. Just lots of lessons learned.

The Plot: The plot is so intricately crafted, but I don’t want to spoil too much. Let’s just say pay close attention and you will find out every secret of each characters and the biggest secret of them all: who killed Simon.
Favorite Character: The Murder Club ❤

Crazy House by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

“A thrilling new YA novel from master of suspense James Patterson, who’s created a frightening new future: a world where teens are taken, imprisoned and forced to fight for their survival. Where 17-year-old Cass will do whatever it takes to save her twin sister from Death Row.

There were no charges. There was no trial. There will be no escape.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her small hometown. She was thrown into a maximum-security prison and put on Death Row with other kids her age. Until her execution, Becca’s told to fit in and shut her mouth… but Becca’s never been very good at either. Her sister Cassie was always the perfect twin.

Becca’s only hope is that her twin sister will find her. That perfect little priss Cassie will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it’s too late. Because her jailers made a mistake that could get them both killed:

They took the wrong twin.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here. Now that school is over, I am finally ready to read to my heart’s content!

I would like to start off by saying that I received this arc from the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017. Thank you to the publisher’s for this opportunity. I want to mention now that this means any complaints I have may already be addressed in the completed version (ex: the ARC is only 296 pages while the actual book is 368 pages)

Stars (out of 10): 6/10

Overall Thoughts: The best way to summarize my thoughts is “cliche, but entertained”. This book gets straight to the point in James Patterson’s famous way of writing. Despite being your usual dystopia, I was hooked to the point that I could barely put it down. I felt like I was watching a movie as the action went on. If you have read Patterson’s books before, you’ll definitely like this one.

The Good: Despite being the usual dystopian universe, there are some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting. The book gets straight to the point with very little downtime. Every scene, at least in the first three quarters, has a point to it. For this reason it was an easy read. The characters were realistic in the way that they reacted to their situations, because honestly, if you were kidnapped you wouldn’t just be like, “Yes, let me do everything you say”. You would pull a Becca and be like “What is going on? Where am I? What do you mean don’t do this?”

The Bad: This book felt like it was missing something, and that’s because it is. There is a reason there were around 70 pages added to the final edition. While there is romance, it is badly done. There is no build up, especially for Becca’s love interest. While Cassie and her love interest get a little more build up, they just aren’t given enough time to explore the depths of their relationship. Likewise, the characters felt flat in some ways. They felt like they were instruments of the plot rather than the plot was their instrument to play and change as they like. It should be the character’s personalities and motivations that make the plot. You shouldn’t be able to answer a question “Why did that character just do that?” with “Because the plot said so.”

MAJOR SPOILERS BEGIN BELOW

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