Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

From Hicklebee’s: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

I feel very confident saying that Cassandra Clare is one of the most stunning fantasy authors in YA Literature. I have dutifully read each and every one of her books and I have found myself in love with each book for different reasons. Her Infernal Devices series is my favorite of her two. If you haven’t read Clockwork Angel this review will hold spoilers from that book. Also, if you haven’t read Clockwork Angel – get on that now. I promise you won’t regret it.

There are a great many things I loved about Clockwork Prince. The evolution of Jem from being pitiable and weak to a strong young man with a brilliant disposition on life. Jem was understanding, constantly there for Tessa and isn’t bitter with the lot he has been given. He is swiftly becoming my favorite character from Clare’s cannon.

Will on the other hand acted like an entitled ass through most of the novel. Yes, it is explained why he is an ass, and its sad tear-worthy even- especially when you learn the truth about him and Magnus Bane helps him solve his biggest life mystery. It was the last few pages of the book and his “Jem can take it” attitude that made me incredibly mad at him. I am in awe of Clare’s ability to elicit such strong emotions from me, especially related to the characters.

Tessa is still Tessa, smart, funny and well read. We are little closer to finding out what she really is at the end of the novel and the wait for book three where I hope we do find out is going to kill me. Tessa grows so much in this novel, she goes from proper American lady living in England to kick ass down and dirty I will do anything to save any of you and that was my favorite part of this novel.

The Lightwoods are introduced, Morty is still deliciously evil, there are still clockwork devices but they aren’t the main focus of the book. I did enjoy how the devices took a backseat here for plot and I have a feeling they will play a major part in book three.

The most important thing Henry is still awesome. Charlotte is going through a very hard time in Clockwork Prince and I hope everything works out and she and Henry become very happy together; they deserve it.

New characters, new hints and mysteries are introduced. The world building is superb and if I had the next book I would have dove into it immediately. If you haven’t had a chance to read Clare I highly suggest you drop everything and do that now.

For those who have read Clockwork Prince here is the balcony scene re-imagined by Vanya from VLC Photo:

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Lisa Desrochers signing

So yesterday I drove east to Modesto to go see Lisa and get some books signed. The event was super informal and really fun. Lisa is always super cool to talk to and I had a ton of fun. I had never driven easterly before, normally I go north or south in California and I loved Modesto. So while I was there I got a signed copies of both books to give away to you guys! The Rafflecopter entry form below will explain things. Do not forget to press the “I did this” button or you will not be entered. You can tweet the message daily if you want or not at all, that is not a mandatory option, but if you do tweet it daily do not forget to come back and press “I did it” each time.

Here is a pic of me and Lisa!

And here is a pic of book covers with open hands display

Enter to win!


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Review: The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

From Goodreads: Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into The Emerald Atlas. I know I want to read more MG fiction because I generally enjoy it, but one thing I do not enjoy at all is time travel. I know enough about quantum physics (yeah nerd I know) to be annoyed with all of the mistakes that authors normal make when they base their time travel on a theory that we already are researching. The magical aspect that The Emerald Atlas uses is a fantastic way to utilize time travel. I truly enjoyed the idea of putting a photograph in a book and then traveling back to that exact moment.

The three children in the book, Kate, Michael and Emma each have a strong and different personality. It’s hard to have a clear favorite but I think I enjoyed Emma’s spunk the most. For three children who know they have parents alive and are moved from orphanage to orphanage because their parents gave them up, the kids are fantastically not whiny and very self assured. They believe in the love their parents have for them.

John Stephens writing is amazing. I loved all of the little quirks of the novel and his use of language. It made the book all the more fantastical. Stephens has all of the right stuff to be the Rowling or Pullman of this new generation.

The side characters you meet along the way really make this novel even more grand. Gabriel the ruffian, and many more mythical creatures that I don’t wish to name for fear of spoiling the book for you. All in all I think this is an amazing new book and I am anticipating the second one as if I were a child!

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book. It is not a spoiler and I think gives you a good use of language. To set the scene, this is the husband of a woman who is obsessed with swans, she has live swans, a swan hat, swan shaped couch, swan statues and well you get the picture:

And so it was one night near the beginning of December, while sitting before the fire with her husband, Mr Lovestock–who took a vacation by himself every summer supposedly to collect beetles, but actually to hunt swans at a private reserve in Florida, blasting them at near-point-blank range with a mad grin on his face–so it was that Mrs. Lovestock sat up on the swan-shaped couch where she had been knitting and announced. “Gerald, I am going to adopt some children.”

John Stephens is going to be signing at Hicklebee’s in San Jose on April 6th at 3pm. If you can’t make that and want a book signed and personalized for you or your little one just click the link and give Hicklebee’s a call, they will hook you up.

You can click here to read the first chapter.

Book Trailer: one of the best I have ever seen:

FTC Disclosure: This book was given to me by a publicist at a conference. She was right this book is awesome

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Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

From Goodreads: This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers – monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell – she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie’s powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her – an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie’s soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian’s most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives – including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

What can I say about Angelfire that isn’t going to sound like I am just garbling out a litany of adjectives!? If you follow my Twitter account you may know that this first half of February has been a funk of reading for me but Angelfire has been the one book I keep going back to and the only book I have finished this month so far. That in itself should say a lot.

As someone who is not religious in nature I immensely enjoyed the way Moulton employed not only Christian Bible religion but other Eastern traditions as well. I enjoyed her mythology and I thought it was very well done. I have read most of the Angel Lit (as I have dubbed it) out there and I truly only feel comfortable recommending this book and one other (Unearthly) as those you should read. This book is begging to be read!

Some of the mythology:

“Do you mean that real angels exist? The Fallen are demons, aren’t they? Does that mean that God exists? Satan too?”
He took a breath. “Yes. Lucifer rebelled against God and lost the First War, as you have probably learned at some point in your life. God banished Lucifer from Heaven, and he fell into Hell, but his war fell to Earth. The angels who joined Lucifer’s cause fell with him and became demons – the Fallen. Two of the Fallen bore horrible children, whose decedents are the creatures we know today as the demonic reapers. In desperation for more soldiers to fuel his army of the damned, Lucifer uses the reapers to collect human souls.” Pg 123 ARC

Moulton writes action scenes that are big screen worthy. The characters are well fleshed out and fabulous. Ellie is reluctant but not whiny. I had no problems with the writing, and generally nothing to to complain about at all, except maybe for the shady way her father acts but my instincts tell me that is going to play a part in books to come.

Ellie has a fantastic Mom which is something I love seeing in YA fiction, while her Dad leaves a lot to be desired, like I said I think this is going to play a part later to come. Will is a fantastic love interest but we meet a dashing young man closer to the end of the novel and I find myself wondering a lot about him.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5 only because the fantastic action scenes felt a bit repetitive at times and amnesia is a personal problem for me I want my characters all knowing and even though Moulton does a fantastic job with Ellie not remembering everything and it didn’t annoy me in the slightest, I had I’m on a boat syndrome.

Ragnuk at times seemed that he was going to utter Wizard of Oz lines his evilness was tinge over the top but I am telling you people. That is what makes Ragnuk so bad-ass. You really must read Angelfire.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in ARC form in return I gave them a fair review.

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Review: Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

Goodreads: After inheriting the dark Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence with her forbidden love, Jack. Now the two of them must embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the five remaining gates that guard the earth from Lucifer, lord of the Silver Bloods.

Back in New York, Mimi has been elected Regent of a crumbling coven. Struggling with her heartache over the loss of Kingsley and with her overwhelming desire to destroy Jack, she must focus all of her energy on a perilous new threat. Vampires are being abducted and their captors are planning to burn them alive online…for all the world to see. Help arrives in the form of Deming Chen, a Venator from Shanghai, who must untangle the web of deceptions before the killers strike again.

As the young vampires struggle for the survival of the coven, they uncover a deadly secret, a truth first discovered by Schuyler’s mother during the Renaissance but kept buried for centuries. And as the Blue Blood enclave weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler to a terrible choice that will ultimately map the destiny of her heart.

I have been a huge fan of Melissa de la Cruz and her Blue Bloods series for a few years now. Long before I had this blog and began reviewing books. I think Melissa’s interpretation of vampire lore is one of the most unique stories being played out in YA lit right now. If you haven’t ready any of this series I strongly suggest you begin with the first book and to stop reading this review here, spoilers for the rest of the series will be below.

We begin Misguided Angel where the Van Alen Legacy ends. Schuyler and Jack are in Italy searching for one of the gates to hell. Mimi is back in New York reeling and seething over the upset Jack gave when he left her at the bonding alter and ran away with “that half-blood” Schuyler.

The writing as always is fantastic. Melissa de la Cruz has a fantastic way with words and I think Misguided Angel shows her talent properly. This was a super quick read and I was loathe to put it down to do menial house-hold tasks.

This book focuses more on what is going on in New York rather than Italy. Mimi has a huge problem on her hands with vampires going missing and being burned alive online. A cover-up operation to confuse the red-bloods has to be conceived while she searching for the killer which is probably a lowly human.

Mimi knew all about blood houses, of course-she wasn’t born yesterday, duh. They were places that familiars who had been abandoned went to experience the Sacred Kiss with any vampire. It was a disgusting practice, the Caerimonia was intimate and sacred, not to be squandered cheaply.

Mimi has to call in back up in the form of a Venator named Deming from Shanghai who can use the glom to find the victims and who is murdering them. Deming is a star born twin and doesn’t have to worry about bonding because her other half is her twin. She is able to infiltrate the school as a senior and search for clues. Will she be able to find the murderer before the waning moon is gone?

Misguided Angel was an epic addition to the Blue Bloods series. I am on pins and needles waiting for book six, so many new mysteries have been pseudo-revealed to the reader and I can’t wait to solve them. I think once you finish this book you will be just as excited as I am to read Bloody Valentine the novella due out a bit later!

So tell me do you like the Blue Bloods series? Gonna read Misguided Angel? Already read it?

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