Book Reviews, From My Library

Book Discussion/Review | Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

With the cliffhanger ending of Clockwork Angel, I knew I’d need to pick up Clockwork Prince immediately! I found it just as enjoyably devastating as Clockwork Angel.

This one was a wild ride! I thought I had everything figured out, only to be betrayed over and over again.

Let’s start with one of my favorite characters…

Charlotte Branwell is a game changer for women. Given the time period in which this novel takes place, it was surprising to see a woman in charge of something as important as the Enclave. Surprising, but important. Charlotte is a headstrong and protective YOUNG woman. I think it’s important to note that she was so young and running the Institute – I mean, it’s only mentioned once (I think!), but Charlotte is only a few years older than Jem and Will! While they are nearing 18, Charlotte only clocks in at 23!

What upset me most about the betrayals in this novel were that they happened because of someone Charlotte nurtured. The fact that a member of the London Institute was willing to sell out the members of their family both shocked and appalled me. The thing is though, I feel like I let myself down because I felt like I should have known the betrayer was going to betray!

The romance was also incredibly similar to a roller coaster. At first, I thought Jem and Tessa seemed like a better fit. Jem’s kindness toward Tessa is exactly what she needs (and deserves), especially after Will’s intentional cruelty to her on the roof of the Institute. It is understood that Will’s curse is what causes him to push Tessa away, but it really is inexcusable to treat someone – especially someone you love – as Will did.

But then I read about Will’s heartbreak and my heart broke for him. I absolutely adore Jem, but in my mind Will is perfect for Tessa. They are the same!

Another tidbit that made me happy, similar to Clockwork Angel, is the friendship that formed between Magnus and Will. With Magnus being my absolute favorite character, I need more of him in my life. The fact that he played a bigger role in this book made my heart sing. While it is clear he adores Will, it is also evident that he is not romantically interested in Will. The friendship that formed between them better helped me to understand what exactly Alec was jealous of in TMI.

Similar to Clockwork Angel, we have excellent bad guys. Though the Magister is still the Big Bad Guy, there are lesser bad guys in this one too! This is needed, in my opinion. Smaller tasks on the quest to the larger task are what motivate me to continue to read stories – especially when the story spans multiple books. Having both Tessa’s brother, Nate, and members of the Enclave as bad guys really helped drive this book forward. Also… though I love Izzy and Alec, I was surprised to see more Lightwood’s involved in messed up shit than just Maryse and Robert. Good lord, the Lightwoods know how to go big or go home! XD

Overall, this was just as good as Clockwork Angel and it definitely hyped me up for the concluding novel of this trilogy.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Who’s betrayal was more shocking to you? Benedict Lightwood or Jessamine Lovelace?

Book Reviews, From My Library

Book Discussion/Review | Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

I put off reading The Infernal Devices for a really long time. I love the world Cassandra Clare created, but I was worried I wouldn’t like the historical aspect of TID. To be quite frank, historical fiction doesn’t really interest me (I’m a work in progress!) and that’s exactly what I thought this trilogy would be. Well… I suppose historical fantasy fiction would be a more accurate way to describe what I thought Clockwork Angel would be. I was quite mistaken.

Clockwork Angel follows Tessa Gray and the Shadowhunters of the London Institute in the year 1878. I suppose, like Goodreads, I’d have to describe this as a prequel to The Mortal Instruments, but I am absolutely glad I read these after reading (and re-reading) the aforementioned series.

I’m definitely happy I read TMI before TID because I liked having the background to compare ancestries. For instance, I can’t imagine liking Will nearly as much as I did without knowing that his line would eventually bring us Jace. Nor could I imagine liking Emma if not for Jem. One of my immediate first impressions upon the introduction of William Herondale was “I can tell he is related to Jace!”

Additional first impressions – Tessa will become a favorite character in the world (spoiler alert: she does!) and Jem is the sweetest (another spoiler: he is!). What I found most interesting about Tessa is her love of books. It’s really nice to encounter characters who love books as much as you do!

Obviously, I loved Clockwork Angel. I thought it was a wonderful start to the trilogy. One of the key things I loved about this book is the simple fact that I already had Clockwork Prince ready to start the next day. Otherwise the cliffhanger ending would have killed me!

I’ve noted before that I adore Magnus Bane, so all of his appearances made me really happy. Of course, through my happiness there were some things that were spoiled for me because of The Mortal Instruments.

The most obvious is the strange relationship between Will and Tessa. We all know she chooses Will, but all signs in Clockwork Angel point to Jem and Tessa being the couple. Throughout this story, I was left wondering how on earth it was possible that she and Will ended up married when it’s clear James is in love with her, and she him.

Jem’s illness, in general, was confusing to me. Well… maybe not quite confusing. I knew he would eventually become Brother Zachariah, but I didn’t think an illness would lead to it. In fact, throughout TMI there wasn’t any indication that Brother Zachariah joined the Brotherhood because of an illness. I just accepted it as something that had to be done… like an order rather than a choice.

Moving on to bad guys. This one had a good one! It’s hard to be afraid of someone named Valentine, but someone who goes by the Magister is easy to be frightened of. The Magister was a great villain for this story.

Clockwork Angel was absolutely the breath of fresh air I needed to start this year with (although it was technically the third book I read in 2019). Clare’s writing revitalized my mind and welcomed me home to the Shadow world.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

You tell me!  Jem and Tessa or Tessa and Will? Why?

Book Reviews, From My Library

Book Review | The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare et al.

Before I discuss my thoughts on the stories, I want to describe how I feel about Magnus Bane. From the moment he was introduced in The Mortal Instruments, I loved him. He is sassy, classy, and smart-assy and I adore how much he seems to like Clary (I mean, he calls her Biscuit and I think it’s so cute!).

When the Shadowhunters series was set to release and I found out Harry Shum Jr would be playing Magnus, I screamed. In my opinion, there is no better actor to play this character. I got my husband hooked on the show and he agrees – Magnus is the best!

Magnus is my favorite character in the Shadowhunter world. This is fact. Because my husband and I both adore the character, we named our Aussie, you guessed it, Magnus.

Clearly, Magnus is my favorite. Clearly I hyped up his tales in my mind. In fact, I might have overhyped…

Here’s a breakdown of The Bane Chronicles and my thoughts on each of the stories.

What Really Happened in Peru – 🌟🌟🌟

The tales of debauchery are wildly entertaining, but this story left something to be desired. Literally. They literally do not tell us what really happened in Peru and it’s infuriating. I felt so disappointed by this story. I don’t want a mystery. I want to know why Magnus was banned from a country!

The Runaway Queen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫

I love Magnus in Paris. I love the nod to his type – blue eyes, dark hair. I loved the fact that there was some historical value to this – it’s believable that Magnus knew Marie Antoinette!

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Edmund reminds me so much of Jace (except the whole part about having his Marks stripped to marry a mundane). The fact that he loves only one person (and we know he ends up loving her his whole life) is what makes me realize he and Jace aren’t so different. Actually, in this one Camille doesn’t seem so bad. Yet. Regardless, I really like Edmund Herondale!

The Midnight Heir – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Another Herondale to adore! I love Tessa, Will, and Jem. Poor James and his love of a psychopath though. Grace is batshit. Magnus is such a naughty man in this and I love that! I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Magnus and James Herondale. He seems to really hit it off with every Herondale he encounters!

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort – 🌟🌟🌟💫

This one felt like a lot of drivel. I did enjoy the more exciting bits, but it was just a little to blah for my liking. Magnus closing the door to the void was the most exciting part, but that’s about it. Oh, and Dolly’s “friend” was glaringly obvious. C’mon.

Saving Raphael Santiago – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (my favorite)

I needed more Raphael in my life. I love the portrayal in the television series and I actually liked Raphael a lot in The Mortal Instruments. Getting his backstory was something I needed. His sass is everything I strive to be.

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I like the glimpses of history in this story. I also enjoyed learning that vampires can develop addictions through the blood of human addicts. This seems obvious, but it was interesting to me.

What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway) – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I didn’t know how desperately I needed to see the sweet side of Alec that presents itself in this tale. I adore Malec!

The Last Stand of the New York Institute – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a pre-uprising tale and I loved it. It’s nice seeing Magnus’ part in everything.

The Course of True Love (and First Dates) – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I didn’t realize how much I wanted to know the details of Malec’s first date until I started reading this novella. This one was my second favorite tale in this bind up. I love getting some extra Magnus and Alec. And this definitely didn’t go the way I thought!

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A sad and hilarious conclusion to the chronicles. Izzy really is invested in her brother’s love life and that makes me so happy.

Overall, I did really enjoy these tales. Reading this before I started The Infernal Devices was a great call. So much of what I read in these tales helped set up what happens in TID and I’m really pleased to have finally read this book.

Overall, I rate this at 🌟🌟🌟🌟. I didn’t absolutely love all of the tales, but that’s to be expected. Magnus is still my favorite character!

What was your favorite of The Bane Chronicles?

Book Reviews, From My Library

Book Review | Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare et al.

I typically like to start my year by reading something by Cassie Clare. (Read: I actually normally just re-read The Mortal Instruments every January. I’m well aware how strange this is).

This year, I opted to reach for the nine Clare novels/novella bind-ups I have on my TBR. I specifically chose now to grab these books because Queen of Air and Darkness recently released.

So, with The Mortal Instruments fresh in my mind, having re-read them yearly since City of Heavenly Fire released in 2014, I decided it was absolutely time to read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. I don’t exactly love Simon Lewis like some readers, but I like him enough and was severely dissatisfied with his ending in City of Heavenly Fire.

On Goodreads, I gave rating for each of the ten novellas. Here on the blog, I thought I’d expand more on why I gave those ratings.

Welcome to the Shadowhunter Academy: 3.5 🌟🌟🌟💫

I thought this was a strong intro to the tales. I liked being introduced to new characters (that I’m sure will play a part later!) and this did help me remember how much I do like Simon. I was hopeful that as the tales continued that Simon would remember more because it was heartbreaking to read that he really couldn’t remember Clary.

The Lost Herondale: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The ending to this one literally made me well up with tears (this happens easily… I’m sensitive ok). I really cherish Simon and Clary’s friendship; it definitely ranks high on my list of important friendships in literature. This one left me with questions. Does the lost Herondale become the found Herondale? Does Simon tell anyone the REAL story?

The Whitechapel Fiend: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really love Tessa’s storytelling abilities. I love Jace and Simon in this one. It made me so happy to see the direction this story took the tales in. This tale made me feel like the whole book was going to end up a 5.

Nothing But Shadows: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (my second favorite) 

Even when I read TMI, I felt like Simon and Clary were meant to be parabati. Then Simon became a vampire and my spirit was crushed. When I finished TMI, I felt hopeful. We knew Simon was going to head to the Academy to become a Shadowhunter. This story made me feel so happy because, even though we don’t know for sure that Clary and Simon will be parabati, we at least find out that Simon plans to ask her when he Ascends! That’s enough for me! I did feel bad about George’s rejection though… (I adore George!)

The Evil We Love: 3.5🌟🌟🌟💫

This one was tough for me. Couldn’t tell if I hate Robert Lightwood, or if I hate his storytelling. I definitely didn’t love his use of Izzy, but I did love the relationship mending moment between Izzy and Simon.

Pale Kings and Princes: 3.5🌟🌟🌟💫

The ending of this tale was so confusing to me! Did Helen’s mother actually die? I was thrilled that Izzy and Simon worked things out!

Bitter of Tongue: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Oh hey, Cassie, it’s not like my heart hasn’t been consistently ripped out over the years. Please continue to do this to me. Alright, I KNOW Mark Blackthorn was not in TMI for long, but he was great! I LIKED HIM A LOT. So to see the Wild Hunt version of Mark was absolutely devastating for me.

And don’t even get me started on Helen. GAH!

The Fiery Trial: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Only two words are needed for this one: true parabati.

Also, Simon and Clary.

Born to Endless Night: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟(my favorite!)

Since I picked this book up, I was (im)patiently waiting for Malec to appear. This is exactly what I was waiting for. The tributes to Max and Raphael (another favorite character) were so touching. I loved the writing in this one. Hence, my favorite.

Angels Twice Descending: 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Do you want to have your heart stomped on? This one will make you want to tear your heart out and kick yourself for ever being attached to a character. Oh hey, by the way… Cassie could give George RR Martin a run for his money. Good grief. Still a good tale though. This one made me actually reconsider my original opinion of Simon. I started to really like him in this tale.

Personal

Setting Goals for 2019

Oops, a few days late! But better late than never, right?

Is it even a new year if you don’t make resolutions? (From here on, they shall be called “goals” vice “resolutions”.

This year, I’m breaking down my goals into a few categories. This feels really strange to me because I’m the sort of person who just lists out a few goals in a planner and calls it a day. While I still plan to make a list of goals, I’m trying to break it down into categories to make my life a) easier and b) more organized. Hi, my name is Brittany. I am Type-A if you hadn’t noticed!

Here’s the breakdown:

Reading Goals

  1. Read 70 books
    1. This is up 20 books from my 2018 reading goal. I actually read 72 books in 2018.
  2. Read more genres
    1. Ideally, my goal is to be able to vote for every category in the Goodreads yearly awards
  3. Write about EVERYTHING I read
    1. This can be on Goodreads or my blog. It can be one sentence or a full post. Basically the idea here is to get myself writing more.
  4. Get a damn library card!
    1. I still don’t have one!

Personal Goals

  1. Eat healthier.
    1. We eat out far too frequently.  
  2. Workout 4 times per week.
    1. More is great, but a baseline of 4 times a week is a good start.
  3. Meditate.
    1. To help manage my panic/anxiety disorder.
  4. Take vitamins.
    1. Enter care/of subscription…

Career Goals

  1. Find a new job.
    1. At the time of writing this, I still work at a place that doesn’t bring me joy in any way and contributes to my panic/anxiety disorder.
  2. Ask for help.
    1. My biggest flaw.

Online Presence Goals

This one seems weird, but I need this category to break down my goals for my online life.

  1. Post more frequently on Instagram
    1. Find more photo challenges to take part of. Plan posts instead of just winging up a picture every five days.
  2. Post more consistently on the blog.
    1. No more a post one month, a post 5 months later. I pay for this domain, after all!
  3. Start a YouTube channel.
    1. I toyed with the idea of BookTube throughout 2018. I think 2019 is the right time to start.

Financial Goals

  1. Pay off credit cards
    1. The inevitable…
  2. Pay down student loans
    1. They never truly go away….
  3. Pay down car note
    1. The loftiest goal on this list!
  4. Save to finish the basement
    1. We have an unfinished half-basement. Our goal is to dig out the other half, raise our house, and finish the basement so that we can have more living space!

Breaking down my goals into categories makes me feel a lot better about setting goals. What are some of your goals for 2019?