May Flowers Bring New Books

The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh.  Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May.  Let’s see how I’ll do.

May 2:

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

May 16:

Seeker by Veronica Rossi

May 23:

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

May 30:

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

 

Quick Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

bronze-keyI’m a fan of both Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s work so I was pretty stoked about their collaboration.  I just wish it was better.  It’s fine but not great.  Someone pointed out to me that it’s a book meant for middle schoolers so I’m not the targeted audience but Rick Riordan writes for the middle schoolers and those are fantastic.  Holly Black’s Spindlewick Series are also great.  So I don’t think it’s the genre, I think maybe it’s the story itself.  We are now in the third book and Call, Aaron and Tamara are now being honored for killing the Enemy of Death, even though they know the Enemy of Death’s soul is in Call’s body.  Things get complicated when someone tries to kill Call and successfully kill a fellow student.  There’s all the typical kid lit traits.  The adults are clueless.  True, they don’t know Call’s secret but pretty much every time they tell Call he’s going to be safe, he’s attacked.  They allready have had one student and one teacher end up in cahoots with the big bad and they didn’t know it.  Is it any surprise that there would be someone else also in cahoots living right under their noses? No, of course not.  Typically, the kids feel they have do things on their own and typically it gets them in more trouble and typically when the real culprit is revealed the adults aren’t there so they get blamed for everything.  At moments I really enjoy this book but at most times I think “is something going to happen soon?”  I felt like there was a lot going on of nothing really happening until you get to the ending and then there’s yet another big cliffhanger.  I will say this about this series in general, the cliffhangers have been first class.  Too bad the rest of the book don’t live up to them.

My To Read List Just keeps getting longer

So I haven’t been reading as much lately because well life and Gilmore Girls.  I’ve recently just finished watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls.  I know it’s weird it’s taken me this long to watch the show but what better time to do it then right before the new season, right?  Anyway, while I was binge watching several books have come out and now I’m hopelessly behind.  I’m still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.  I have waiting in the wings

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan just came out.  The latest in his Magnus Chase series with Norse gods.  Then there’s Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo the sequel to Six of Crows. And then The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Also The Midnight Star by Marie Lu the finale of The Young Elites Trilogy.

I have also recently picked up The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to Scorpion Rules.  I had no idea there was a sequel so I’m super excited for that. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin are two books that were impulse buys.  I have so much to read but what else is new.

What books are on your t0 read list this month?

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

lady midnight** Spoilers Ahead**

The Clave are dicks.  I mean seriously.  In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Clave is the who rules the Shadowhunters, with the Council that makes the decisions.  They are not the most understanding of people. They are definitely judgemental.  For those who read City of Heavenly Fire know that outcome of the Dark War lead to the Shadowhunters basically cutting ties with Fairies because of their roles in Sebastian Morgenstern’s rebellion.  This meant that the two older Blackthorn siblings, Helen and Mark who are half fairy.  Mark was taken by the Wild Hunt at the beginning of the City of Heavenly Fire and Helen was banished to Siberia by the end.  They both had nothing to do with Sebastian and the fairies who fought with him but since they had fairy blood, the Clave was afraid they were side with them so they banished one and abandoned another.  So basically because of the actions of a few, everyone like them are punished.  (Does that sound familiar to anyone?)  Emma’s parents were found dead with strange markings, blamed on  Sebastian’s rebellion even though their deaths resemble nothing that he or his followers did before or after.  Emma is convinced that their death is not related and their killers are still out there but the Clave have shut the door on in.  That leads five years later when Lady Midnight begins.
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What do you do about alleged Plagiarism?

This Tuesday Cassandra Clare is set to release the next book in her Shadowhunters Novels. Her series is highly popular and is now on it’s third series inside this world.  The previous The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices were highly successful.  The former has already inspired a movie (a really bad one) and a TV show (from what I’m told is actually not bad and is doing well in the ratings but I personally couldn’t get past the first 2 episodes). Unfortunately the release of Lady Midnight, the first book in The Dark Artifices series is under a little bit of a cloud.  Sherrilyn Kenyon, the author of the Dark-Hunters series, is suing Clare for copying her ideas.  Kenyon’s series was first published in 1998 and Clare’s in 2007. They both center around an elite set of supernatural warriors that defend the world against demons and other supernatural beings.  Clare has of course denied it by saying she wasn’t influenced by Kenyon’s work.  I have read all of Clare’s books but I haven’t read any of Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters books.  I’ve read the Chronicles of Nick, which I love.  Seriously, I can’t recommend it enough.  The series is a YA spin-off of the Dark-Hunters series and has overlaps with her original series, with characters appearing in both.  Are there similarities? Sure? Probably?  I don’t think the idea of elite warriors who fight demons is new or original.  So I’m not sure what the outcome is going to be but does it matter?  Should I be concerned that Clare might have taken some ideas from Kenyon?  It hasn’t changed my opinions of her books.  They may have similarities but they are both very different in tone and style that they don’t feel the same.  Actually, until this lawsuit I didn’t even occur to me that they were similar.  Not the same way that drew comparisons between Julie Kagawa’s Talon series to Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series.  I wouldn’t say that one copied another but they definitely pulled from the same ideas. I think this gets a little murkier is the fact that Clare has been accused for plagiarism before.  During her fan fiction days, she was accused of adding quotes from TV shows and whole passages from an out-of-print book. There are whole debates about the ethics of fan-fiction.  Some would argue that fan-fiction itself is a form of plagiarism.  Needless to say this doesn’t help Clare’s cause but I don’t think it necessarily proves anything either because again, I think there is some ethical murkiness when it comes to fan-fiction. From what I’ve read, Fifty Shades of Grey is far closer to Twilight then Clare’s The Draco Trilogy was to Harry Potter but I can’t say for certain.  So where does this leave me?  I had already bought my copy of Lady Midnight before this came out so I will read it but my excitement towards it has lessened.  As readers do we have a responsibility here or not? If so, what exactly is it?  I’m kinda I’m curious to hear what others have think about this.

What I Can’t Wait to Read in 2016

It’s 2016!  Happy New Years!!  A new year means new books!  And we love new books even if they just add to our TBR pile.  So here a 10 books that I’m super excited to read in 2016!

  1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater- The final book in the Raven Cycle and I couldn’t be more excited and dreading at the same time.  It is well documented about how much I love the series and Maggie as an author.  I can’t wait to see what will happen to Blue and the Boys but at the same time not ready to say goodbye.
  2. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan – The first book in Rick’s new series The Trials of Apollo is going to be good.  I just know it.  For one thing Percy is back!  That’s really all I need to know.  I also hope it means that Leo is also back and happy and in love with Calypso.  That would be the best.
  3. Untitled by Sarah J. Maas – So the next book in the Throne of Glass series doesn’t have a title but hasn’t dampened my excitement for it.  Aelin has all but declared her intentions and now heading for home.  The real fight for Erilea is abou to get real.
  4. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir –  An Ember in the Ashes was one of the books that I loved the most last year.  A mixture of historical fiction, dystopian and fantasy it was truly something refreshing.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.
  5. The Last Star by Rick Yancey – The final book in the 5th Wave series should be interesting.  The 5th Wave was full and real but the The Infinite Sea was a intriguing but not as entertaining.  Now that we know that who the aliens are and not things are really going to go down.  Not to mention the movie for the first book comes out soon and I’m quite interested to see how it transitions from page to screen.
  6. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – The Red Queen was the other book by a new author in 2015 that I really loved.  The other was Ember in the Ashes.  It was quite a debut.  I can’t wait to see what Mare will do now.
  7. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – It’s been over a year since Cassandra’s last series ended. She has filled the void with her novella series Tales from Shadowhunter Academy it hasn’t been the same.  Now we are moving from New York City to LA with Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorne five years after the end of The Mortal Instruments so of course the world is once again in peril and it’s mostly the Clave’s fault.  I do hope it’s better then the last 3.
  8. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I’ll admit that I was only so so on the first book but I think this series has real potential and I’m willing to give it a go.
  9. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – Magnus and friends stopped Ragarnok from happening at least for now and now he’s going to have help from his cousin Annabeth.  (Annabeth is going to be very busy this year) We know from the last book that Thor lost his hammer and judging by the title that is going to be a major part of this book but he won’t be the only God as we also know that Loki has been pulling strings for a long time. Things should get interesting.
  10. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – Now I’m not sure if this book is really going to come out this year or not but according to Goodreads, it’s scheduled for 11/3 so *crosses fingers* Paige has taken over the syndicate only to be betrayed by her former boss.  It’s time to start a revolution against Scion but I have a feeling they won’t go down without a fight.

And so many more books I want to read and not to mention try to complete our reading challenges. It’s going to be a busy reading year.  How about you? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman

shadowhunteracademy

For the last 10 months, Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan have been treating us with Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. A set of short stories that follows one of Clare’s heroes, Simon Lewis, as he tries to learn how to be a Shadowhunter. I wrote about it a little but after the first book, Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy, came out.  This week marked the release of the tenth and final story in the series.  For those who are not familiar with Simon or Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, let me catch you up.  *Spoilers* When we first met Simon in City of Bones he was just a normal teenage boy in love with his best friend Clary.  Throughout the series, he goes from normal boy to normal boy among supernaturals beings to becoming a supernatural being himself, a Vampire, saving the world and then returning to a normal teenage boy with no memory of the supernatural world or his friends.  That is where we are now.  Simon, has been once again become aware that vampire, werewolves, warlocks, fairies and Shadowhunters exist.  After the wars of the two Mortal Instruments books are over, the Shadowhunters are depleted in numbers so they have reopened their academy and invited children of Shadowhunters as well as a few Mundanes to Ascend and join their ranks.  That is what Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is about.  In 10 shorts stories, we follow Simon and his fellow students as they learn how to fight like a Shadowhunter and how to be like a Shadowhunter.  Special appearances from other characters from the Mortal Instruments as well as Clare’s other series, The Infernal Devices and upcoming series’ The Dark Artifaces and The Last hours, we learn more about the history of the Shadowhunters but also clues into what to expect in her new series.  It’s really just a good excuse to fill in a few gaps between the end of The Mortal Instruments and beginning of The Dark Artifaces. Also to give Clare’s readers something to read since the last book, City of Heavenly Fire came out last year and Lady Midnight doesn’t come out until Spring of next year.  However, I don’t think you are going to hear much complaining from fans.  They were fun, quick reads that give more insights to how the Clave, who govern Shadowhunters work, also gave us more time to hang out with one my favorite characters, Simon.  As expected with a collection like this not all the stories were good.  I felt some they didn’t know what to they put together a quick story with a couple of fan favorites and call it a day but others I felt were worth it.  One story I liked a lot was Bitter of Tongue.  In it, Simon is kidnapped by fairies and is saved by Mark Blackthorn, who has been stuck with faries since the last book.  Mark, who is half Shadowhunter and half fairy and because of this and what happened in the last war, the Shadowhunters have left him there and banished his sister, Helen to exile.  When Simon comes back he goes to Helen’s wedding.  It’s a heartbreaking story as they are being punished for no other reason then an accident of both.  Truly relevant to what is going on in the world.  It also gives Simon more motivation to become a Shadowhunter and make a change from the inside.  You can buy all 10 stories individually as ebooks or you can wait until next year where they will be combined together but for fans for Clare’s work it’s a must.

Quick Review: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

cooper gauntletI often forget about how dark children’s literature can be.  Take for instance, Matilda or any Roald Dahl. Harry Potter, The Series of Unfortunate Events and Alice in Wonderland to name a few. Black’s and Clare’s Magisterium series is no exception.  It started with the ending of the first book where *Spoiler Alert* one of heroes turns out to be the bad guy and just continues from there.  Call, Aaron and Tamara are thrown into situations that are really well beyond their ages but do it anyway.  They all young and just coming into their own, discovering who they are and learning to control their powers.  They are trying to learn who they can trust because even the adults are a bit sketchy.  After the big reveal at the end of the last book I had big expectations for this one and for the most part it lived up to it.  I still felt that it started off slow, much like the first one did but once it got to the mission it was a fast read.  If only the whole book was like that.  I like the debate of nature vs. nurture that is being played out with both Callum and Aaron’s characters. I have a feeling that we are about to see a little role reversal with those too.  It’s a solid second book and I look forward to see what happens next.