City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★image

Synopsis:
The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon. Can the lost be reclaimed? What price is too high to pay for love? Who can be trusted when sin and salvation collide?
     Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge.
     Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Review:
For some reason, I just wasn’t expecting to love this book. This was the fifth book in a series that was just supposed to be a trilogy. I thought that maybe the last three books would feel like they were just tacked on to the original trilogy. And after City of Fallen Angels I thought I would be disappointed. Thankfully I was wrong.
     This book was wonderfully fast-paced. The characters were back in full force, none of them disappointed me. This book gave me feels, of the sad and happy varieties.
     If you are, for whatever reason, debating reading this one, just stop. READ IT! 

*SPOILERS AHEAD* 

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City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments Series #4)

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★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
     But nothing comes without a price.
     Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one.
     When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
     Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in 
City of Fallen Angels.

Review:
This book has been my least favorite of the series. That doesn’t mean that I hated, or even disliked, the book though. Cassandra Clare delivers on all levels, this one just didn’t reach as high as the others.
     City of Fallen Angels is kind of the beginning of a new trilogy. The first three books mostly follow Clary. This one seemed very Simon-centered. This wasn’t a bad thing at all.
     A lot of new plots and characters had to be introduced, and without the wonder of a new fantastical world (like our introduction to Cassandra Clare’s world in City of Bones) this one was kind of lacking. 
     All that said, I really did enjoy this book. I can’t wait to finish the series!

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

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Redshirts

★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.
     Life couldn’t be better… until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
     Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

Review:
If you’re a fan of Star Trek or any sci-fi show this book is a must read for you. It’s all about the throwaway characters who are killed right before a commercial break for no good reason. It’s self-aware, it’s hilarious. Even if you don’t watch sci-fi shows or movies, this is just a really good book. It  was fun, clever, and geeky in the best ways possible, but it still manages to criticize the very real problem of lazy writing on these shows.
     There were three codas at the end that, for the most part, I could’ve done without. They certainly did add something to the story, but I didn’t feel that they were that engaging and I found myself falling asleep throughout most of them.
     Overall though, this was a great read.

Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy #2)

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

     Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Review:
I liked Insurgent less than I liked Divergent. It was darker than Divergent, but in a way that I felt was necessary. Shit kind of went down at the end of Divergent and there needed to be some consequences. It would have been strange if the characters continued on as if nothing had happened. It was also slower, but I also think this was necessary. A lot of new characters were introduced and we got some insight into the way that the other factions and the factionless work. It isn’t Insurgent's fault, but this book was just so much less fun than Divergent. I wasn’t as excited to find out what was going to happen next. The end definitely made up for it.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1)

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
     During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves … or it might destroy her.

Review:

I loved Divergent. It’s one of my favorite dystopian novels that I’ve read. If you haven’t read it, you should. Especially with the movie coming out later this year. It isn’t a typical dystopian story. It’s not gloomy and depressing like so many others. It’s fun to read about the world that Veronica Roth has built. Reading about Tris going through the Dauntless initiation is so much fun. It’s entertaining and fast-paced.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Hi, I don't know if you take any request but have you read the DIVERGENT series, I can't remember enough to read the 3rd — Asked by gizehlg

Sorry this has taken me so long to answer. I’ve read the first two books in the Divergent series and I plan on posting recaps for both soon.

Hi!! I love your choice of books, I have read almost all of them, myself! But i was wondering if you like sad books, i love them, and i have some suggestions. -Love, Aubrey, By Suzanne Lafleur. -Waiting for Normal, By Leslie Conner.- Getting Near To Baby, By Audrey Couloumbis. I hope you read these, they are small books and easy reads, so they shouldn't take that long. — Asked by Anonymous

Thanks for the suggestions! I do enjoy reading sad books but I’m rarely in the mood to read them.

The Vampire Academy Series

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★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger… .

Review:
I’ve been seeing these books in bookstores for years, but have never felt like reading them. Recently there’s been a lot of buzz because of the movie that’s coming out next year, so I decided to read them.
     The first three books, especially Vampire Academy, were a let down. The vampire world that Mead created was unlike any other that I’ve read, but the plot was completely unoriginal.
     The plot eventually picked up, and when it did the books became hard to put down. Even in the end though, some of the books just felt too long.
     At the beginning of the series, the main character, Rose, was really annoying. Thankfully, her character developed through the series, and by the end she was a pretty badass female protagonist. Most of the characters developed (not hard to do, considering there were six fracking books in which they had plenty of time to change) throughout the series, which was refreshing (especially considering more characters than just Rose started out annoying).
     Overall, the series was pretty good. I’m not sure that I would recommend it, partly because of how long it was. I don’t understand why it needed to be six books long, even though I got through most of them pretty quickly. I think I would have enjoyed this series more if the plot had been condensed into four or five book.

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices Trilogy #3)

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:
THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING
     A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.
     Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.
     As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?
     Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the
Infernal Devices trilogy.

Review:
This book was beautiful. It’s what all final books should be. It somehow managed to crush me while simultaneously giving me everything that I wanted.
     I was never sure of the characters’ fates, and I was worried about them throughout the book. When they died I felt it.
     This book made me cry an ocean of tears. They weren’t all sad tears, but they definitely weren’t all happy either. 
     It kind of upsets me when I hear people talking about how they’re “Team Jem” or “Team Will.” This series is absolutely not like that. At least, it wasn’t for me. Does Tessa love Will and Jem? Yes, she does. Is there some angsty shit going on? Well, yeah. But it’s also heartbreaking, with Jem’s illness. And heartwarming. My favorite relationship isn’t Tessa and Will’s, or Tessa and Jem’s. There were parts where I didn’t care about that at all. I loved Jem and Will’s relationship. I love what they were willing to do for each other. There was never a moment where they were competing against one another for Tessa’s affections.
     If you haven’t read this series, do it. Right now.
     Cassandra Clare has me convinced that she cannot write a bad book.

Reached (Matched Trilogy #3)

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★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:
Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.
     The wait is over.
     One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion.

Review:
I was hoping that this book would make me love the Matched trilogy, but when I finished it I just felt like, “Meh. Time to read something else, I guess.” This book, maybe even the whole series, didn’t really leave any impression on me.
     Condie’s writing is beautiful at times, but I couldn’t get past the lack of excitement in the plot. I wanted there to be important things at stake, and for there to be a big, exciting climax. But there was never a moment that I doubted that everything was going be okay in the end.
     Overall, this book was just satisfactory. The characters in this book, though I’ve liked them, have never stood out to me. The plot, though it sounded intriguing, was never fantastic.
     This is a safe conclusion to a very safe series. 

Pandemonium (Delirium Series #2)

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 ★ ★ 

Synopsis:
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Review:
I was so sure that I was going to love this book. Maybe my expectations were just too high.
     For the most part, I liked the new characters that were introduced. That being said, I MISSED THE CRAP OUT OF THE OLD CHARACTERS! 
     The plot was pretty frustrating. I could see where it was going the whole time and I wanted to scream at Lena for most of the book.
     I liked the way it was written, at least. It jumped between the past and present. Without that I’m sure some parts would’ve been moving way too slow for me.
     I’m sure everything gets sorted out in Requiem, but in the meantime I just don’t really know what to say about this one. 

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

A Tale of Two Cities

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★★★★

Synopsis:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history’s most explosive eras—the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the terror and upheaval of that tumultuous period. At the center is the novel’s hero, Sydney Carton, a lazy, alcoholic attorney who, inspired by a woman, makes the supreme sacrifice on the bloodstained streets of Paris.

Review:
I’ve had this book on my shelf for about a year now. I finally decided to read it because Cassandra Clare’s  Clockwork Princess comes out this month. Tessa and Will talk about A Tale of Two Cities throughout the first two books in The Infernal Devices series. I plan on rereading those books before I read the final book, and I wanted to know what they were talking about.
      The only other book I’ve read by Charles Dickens (besides A Christmas Carol) was Great Expectations, and I wasn’t really a fan. For mostly that reason I wasn’t expecting to love this book, especially after reading the first few chapters. It started out slow and, like most classics, wordy as hell. However, as the story progressed I found that I really fell in love with the characters. The novel is divided into three books, and by the end of the second book I was completely invested.
     The writing was humorous at times and heartbreaking at others. The story twists in ways that I would have never expected from the beginning.
     Classics never make me emotional. I think it’s because there’s normally so much padding to these stories that by the time you’ve waded through all the crap and finally get to the point you’re drained. This wasn’t the case with A Tale of Two Cities. Yes, there was padding, but by the end it didn’t matter. By the end I was even grateful for all of Charles Dickens writing. By the end I was crying every time certain characters were mentioned.