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 taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

“Hate like that can tear down the world.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I’m gonna be honest, after the end of Lady Midnight, I wasn’t completely looking forward to this book. I would read it, yes, but knew I would be so frustrated by the romantic tension and lack of transparency between Emma and Julian that it would just be more annoying than enjoyable to read. However, I was so wrong. I loved this installment, more so than Lady Midnight, I have to say, and my love for the characters grew. I’m still not the biggest fan of Julian, but most of the others are closer to my heart now. (Also, my dear Magnus made a ton of appearances and he has always been a favorite.)

The Good: Great development in most areas (from character relationships to world development to plot creation!) Also, the way it was written kept us jumping from POV to POV in the best way, and no part felt like filler. The further I got into the book, the more I couldn’t put it down!

The Bad: While a cliffhanger ending is great, this one felt a bit abrupt, and so I still feel like there’s more I need to read. It basically ended right in the middle of the climax of the novel. Additionally, it felt semi slow at the start, and sometimes I got a bit annoyed with Julian or one of the others. Also, am highly annoyed Clare is starting her new series next year instead of just finishing this one first, and making us wait 2 years for the finale of this story.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While I enjoyed this, it was far from one of my favorites. I always love kingdom novels, so this one gained points just from it being one of those, but it fell in areas where other series have risen. It was predictable at points, and unfortunately I am always put off by love triangles, but I did enjoy the combat scenes, especially how Meira was already a girl with some skill, and a major plot point wasn’t her getting better.

The Good: Had a decent plot and world, and I’m definitely intrigued as to where this is all going. A lot was built up, and overall felt well-connected. Additionally, when a character flaw was introduced, it was actually kept! Not just ditched when found inconvenient.

The Bad: Love triangle, Meira wasn’t always a character I liked, plot twist I predicted early on, and the world building came a tad too late (had no feeling of normalcy/what they were fighting for, but in the POV of a character who has never been a part of the kingdom, this somewhat makes sense.)

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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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 taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! This is another ARC from ALA, and I was super excited to read this one. Luckily, this one actually met my expectations!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: When I picked up this book at ALA, it was definitely one of the few I was most excited about. A YA murder mystery, sign me up! Nonetheless, I knew that my entire opinion of the plot and the story would hinge on one main thing: the ending, specifically how twisty/cool it was + evidence throughout the entire story backing up that ending (as the book fairly advertised.) As you saw by my high rating, this book had an absolute perfect ending to the plot, with evidence actually backing it up from chapter 1.

The Good: Great plot, almost every character was likable in some way (which also made every piece of evidence pointing out one of the characters as the murderer harder to take, and made it less biased in our thinking of who did it as we didn’t really want any of them to be convicted rather than just one that we then ignored evidence for.) Outside of the actual parts of a novel, the book also had a really refreshing and nice take on LGBT and mental illness issues, which will be gone over in the spoiler sections below.

The Bad: Would’ve been 5 stars had the epilogue in the ARC version not existed. Will explain further under spoilers, but it added unnecessary romantic issues at the end that made the epilogue be mainly about a relationship/single character rather than overall aftermath/moving on.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE (If you do not want the entire book spoiled, AKA who did it and how and why, DO NOT READ THIS. You have been warned!)

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Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

“Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again! This time I finally read a book I never got to in my elementary years, Artemis Fowl!

“Confidence is ignorance. If you’re feeling cocky, it’s because there’s something you don’t know.”

Stars (Out of 10): 6/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While I’m not the biggest fan of this book, it was still pretty good. I enjoyed reading it, but it by far was not one of my favorite books/children books. I have the next few books in the series though, so I might end up continuing it just because the books are easily accessible. But overall, I just was kinda bored by it.

The Good: Decent plot, and I liked how there wasn’t really a good or bad side, and you could’ve honestly supported either side and been happy with the outcome. I also liked the humor in this novel, and overall it wasn’t as “childish” as I thought it would be!

The Bad: Didn’t actually connect with any of the characters, and while yes I could support either side, I ended up not liking either. Also, nothing of the plot was really “surprising,” and I’m not usually the biggest fan of the main character being overly powerful/smart in a way that almost doesn’t make sense.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Write This Book by Pseudonymous Bosch

I feared this may happen. I knew reading was a dangerous business, but now it’s not safe for writers either! You see, the author of this book is missing. Well, maybe not “missing.” A certain author whom I won’t name (okay, me) has abandoned his book and has left his readers hanging out to dry. This is a crime, I admit, but there it is. Most of this book, well, I just haven’t written it. And I’m not going to, either.
Why? Oh, I have my reasons. Big. Grown up. Author. Reasons. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal them yet. Let’s just say a life is at stake (mine) and leave it at that. So will you do it? Pretty please? You’ll do it? Thank you! But please hurry! Time is of the essence and you can’t wait any longer. You must WRITE THIS BOOK!


This imaginative companion to the New York Times bestselling Secret Series teases, prompts, and leads readers through the steps of writing a story. Bosch’s signature rip-roaring voice delivers an engaging narrative (for the reader to help complete!) and interactive puzzles and games. Readers get the chance to create their own story while enjoying a satisfying mystery as well.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review! Once again, this book was by one of my favorite authors when I was younger, Pseudonymous Bosch!

“The good thing about writing fiction is that you get to make everything up. The bad thing is that you have to.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed this quick little break from my ordinary, more intense reading. Pseudonymous Bosch was one of childhood authors, and I always loved the footnotes and writing style in general of his, and this book was no exception. If anything, this book had even more footnotes, and even more of his personality seeping into it. I loved the book just for that, and not even considering the potentially invaluable information the book can hold for younger readers. Since this is not an ‘ordinary’ book, this will also not be an ordinary review.

The Good: Has some pretty good information, and is also extremely funny and engaging for readers! Even though I already was taught the same things in my high school English classes, I still enjoyed it, and see it’s worth for younger readers wanting an interesting way to learn about the writing process, or test out their skills using the “assignments” within the book!

The Bad: It is not a “real” book. It has a semblance of a story, but that is not the main point of this book at all. Most of it’s qualities rest in teaching people to write better, or give an insight into how Pseudonymous Bosch writes.

What this book can teach: This book covers most of the basics of writing, from POV (superbly explained by calling 3rd POV an observation, “he broke the glass,” 2nd POV an accusation, “you broke the glass,” and 1st POV a confession, “I broke the glass.”), to genre, using direct examples of Gothic, Fantasy, and Classic Crime in combination with Mystery to show the difference a genre can make on a book. It also speaks of the technical aspects of a book, from title to epigraph to copyright page (and of course, the importance of pseudonyms). However, even if you know all that, the little assignments can be pretty cool writing practice, and the book is even just interesting because of Bosch’s humor. A combination of funny footnotes, interruptions from Quiche the bunny, and “procrastination pages” that are way too true about writers, had me hooked the entire time, even if the information was all just repeat.

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 taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I am officially in love with these series, and now both Magnus Chase and this series are tied for my favorite Riordan series. Almost everything I disliked about having the conceited Apollo as a narrator was changed in this novel, and I completely feel and cheer for Apollo now, rather than kinda being eh about the whole thing like I was for book 1. If anyone felt put off by parts of book 1, I heavily recommend to at least read this next book and see if you still dislike the series, as this was definitely a step up from book 1 and made me really enjoy the series.

The Good: Holy character development, this series is a fantastic example so far of how to properly make your characters change and learn. Additionally, love the hints at the old crew, had a super interesting plot, and also seemed to really well weave into current events (mentions of Pokemon Go + exploding Note 7’s made it truly feel like these demigods are in our world.)

The Bad: I wasn’t always the biggest fan of the silly jokes (such as ones related to farts and other body related humor), but I guess it is middle grade! But this book did see an increase in other humor, which I enjoyed more.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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This Is Not The End By Chandler Baker

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Meaghan here again with another review! This time it’s another ARC Allison and I received at ALA, and read together a few days ago!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 4/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I had high hopes for this book, really high hopes. A book about resurrection and a difficult choice? There are tons of way to draw excellent meaning and philosophical ponderings from that. I hoped for a book that would make me think, make me feel, but it almost felt like this book took the easy way out for the plot. (I’ll explain why down in spoilers.)

The Good: Ohhhh boy what a twist guys. What a twist! Also, Lake stood up for herself. I loved that. But alas, a gasp-inducing twist and a usually great main character cannot raise this book past two stars when it is riddled with annoying cliches and stinging disappointment.

The Bad: Cliches and disappointments^. Additionally, every adult was bad, and Lake had no one to turn to but new guy Ringo (shocking!) I’m sorry, but the romance was just unnecessary. I loved Ringo as a character, he was great, but the timing of it all was off. Also, while I liked the ending, the beginning and middle were eh, and I found myself reaching for Schwab’s “A Gathering of Shadows” often, kinda wishing I had devoted myself first to that book, rather than this one.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

“Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey all! Meaghan here again! I’ve been reading, just haven’t been posting the reviews here… Whoops! Influx of reviews to come to clear out the backlog!

“Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: My main interest in this book was in the cover. I’m just gonna be honest and put that out there. I thought this would veer too much towards Urban fantasy (a genre that can easily suck, and I just rarely have good luck with), so I was a tad wary. But I loved it! The beginning reeled in me and left me unable to read anything else, as it stole all my interest. It flew by, and the only reason it even took me three days is because I honestly had too little time for it in the beginning.

The Good: My favorite thing was definitely the characters, and how well the world was built. Even the evil characters were written fantastically, and I felt myself either liking or being intrigued by each and every one. (Also the plot was fantastic and well rounded, and leaves me wondering where the rest of the series is going to go!)

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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This Is Not The End by Chandler Baker

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Hello! Allison here with another ARC.

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017 in exchange for an honest review. Quotes, characters, and actions in this book are subject to change. Thank you to the publisher for this opportunity.

Stars (Out of 10): 4

Overall Thoughts: Okay, when I first read this description, I was like this sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it. Reading it, though, I was frustrated. I had to force myself to read it. This book is full of cliches, some of my least favorite ones too. Don’t get me wrong, the potential for a good story is all there despite the cliches, but a good story never comes. This book had an amazing concept, but a poor execution of said concept.

The Good: The plot twist at the end almost made me give it three stars. It had amazing foreshadowing and put a lot of the book in perspective.However, upon thinking back on it, my love of this plot twist does not extend to my feelings of this book. Despite some good parts, I still can say that I did not like the book.

The Bad: Like I said: good concept, bad execution. There are unnecessary characters by the bucket loads. There are cliches upon cliches. There are parts that are just frustrating and unnecessary in general.There are messages sent in this book that I am not entirely comfortable with.

*Spoilers down below*

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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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