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Lady Midnight

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabataiis your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

I’m so conflicted!!!!!

hauntedduckprincess:  Monday so we’re back to tda! I’ve just finished Lady Midnight (I was deliberately reading reaaaally slowly - we have to wait another year:<) and omg so much feels!! I loove ruthless Julian and feel so bad for Kieran my poor babyT.T Jemma today! (8/30)   Emma and Jules:

On one hand, I’m so sick of the Shadowhunter world. It’s been done. The first series was SIX books long, and then The Infernal Devices series was three books long, and then there was the Magnus Bane chronicles full of short stories, and all of these were set in the same universe. Sure, maybe not the same timeline, but still. I’m over it.

Clare’s books are the kind where it takes me forever to get through them, and during it I just want it to end and I’m planning on giving it maybe three stars, but then it actually ends and all the feels hit me. And I’m not okay. (Or I read the series, don’t care for it, but then go back and read it again years later and fall in love. *coughWillcoughTessacoughJem*)

“I wasn’t planning on dumping Cameron. We were here, and he called, and his face showed up on my phone- well, actually a llama came up on my phone because I don’t actually have a picture of him so I just used a llama- and the llama made me so angry I just couldn’t help myself.”
“Bad time to be a llama.”
“Is there ever a good time, really?”

The Clave just needs to die a horrible and painful death, okay? I think we can all agree on that. There is so much freaking drama caused by the Clave (which is their government, so obviously that’s the case, but still) and it’s just getting ridiculous. At this point I can guess how the Clave is just going to come into any situation and eff everything up. It’s just a given.

I think my main issue with Clare’s books anymore is that they’re too freaking long. 698 pages, and it’s one of those taller books too. The only books I want to read that long are from Sarah J. Maas.

On the other hand, I love Clare’s characters. They’re so diverse and interesting. But sometimes I feel like she only gives the really, really heartbreaking parts to the male characters. I mean, sure, Emma’s parents were killed and the Clave brushed it off as Sebastian Morganstar’s victims and now she’s dedicated her life to finding the true murderer . . . but freaking Julian over here has not only had to kill his own father, lost both his older brother and sister because of a stupid law, has had to singlehandedly raise all of his younger siblings while pretending and lying to the Clave that all is peachy and good in the world, hide his feelings from Emma, who he has always loved and who he is forbidden to love, and also hold everything together with no one to take the burden away.

Okay. Yeah. Thanks. I see how it is.

I did like her characters, though. All of them. Mark really grew on me, as did Cristina. I had my doubts at the beginning, but it got better.

Not to mention all the freaking possible love interests going on. Emma and Julian. Emma and Mark. Cristina and Diego. Cristina and Mark. Mark and Kieran.

And many more to come!

Not to mention somehow half of these are going to either be frowned upon by the Clave in some way or another and/or be forbidden for more notorious reasons.

The drama just kinda gets to be too much at times.

“We are bound together, Emma, bound together—I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I’m yours and you’re mine, you’ve always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!”

hauntedduckprincess: “ Aren’t we forever? Not your regular fanart but the idea kinda stuck in my head;) (23/30) ”:

And can we talk about this whole oh-I-love-you-and-I-know-something-super-important-about-why-we-can’t-be-together-so-instead-of-telling-you-like-a-rational-human-being-I’m-going-to-be-awful-and-attempt-to-make-you-hate-me-and/or-fall-out-of-love-with-me trope? Yeah, thanks, but no thanks. We all know how that is going to turn out.

I’m so sick of it.

And yet I already know I’ll end up reading this whole series. And the next Shadowhunter series. And the next. And the next until Cassandra Clare either grows too bored of it or dies. That seems to be where it will finally end. And on Clare’s headstone it will have some cliffhanger ending to the last series that will just ruin us all.

black-hana:  Fanart about THE END OF LADY MIDNIGHT. I’m not really satisfied with it, but it’s the only thing I managed to draw lately, so… x) Hope you will like it more than I do ~   I do like it! :):

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Filed under 4 star books, Just added!

Spinning Starlight

Spinning Starlight

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home—a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers’ survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for survival in this companion to Stitching Snow.

So disappointing.

I tried so hard to like this. A re-telling of a non-popular fairytale, The Wild Swans? Interesting, unique theme and storyline?

Check and check.

the Wild Swans by selinmarsou

I’d never heard of The Wild Swans before this book, but that didn’t matter. The theme, the engineering genius of all the siblings, the worlds, the single sister trying to save all her older brothers no matter what . . . I loved it all.

But something was still missing. The middle of the book just kind of dragged on for me, with Liddi unable to talk and communicate with other people, especially since she lives in a world so advanced that the written language is all but extinct. She was never taught how to write. (This sounds like a horror book at this point to me . . .)

She’s frustrated, and I get that. And she does everything she can to save her brothers, even with them telling her that they’ll take care of everything, that they just need her safe.

I loved the sibling love going on. In any book that has deep-rooted sibling connections – especially brother-sister connections for me – I applaud it. It’s hard to find nowadays.

“Like Durant always says, if someone knows something you don’t, don’t be proud—just get learning, quick.”

In that sense, this book is a five out of five stars.

But . . . that wasn’t all this book was about, unfortunately.

The romance left something to be desired. Tiav is nice enough. Kind, trusting enough. I didn’t have any issue with his character. I liked him. I just didn’t love him.

There was nothing about him that was memorable to me. Frankly, I would have been just fine with no romance involved in this, just sibling love.

I wanted more time with Liddi and her overprotective brothers. I wanted more backstory about Liddi and her life as the inheritor to the most prominent business in all the worlds. About her parents’ deaths. We do get little snippets in-between chapters of this, and I found that those were the parts I liked the best.

Liddi is a good character. She doesn’t make stupid decisions, doesn’t put her brothers in more danger with her choices. Sometimes she acts rashly, because she sees an opening and takes it, but only with the best of intentions that I could understand. I would have done the same.

While Liddi is prone to a bit of angst and self-loathing, it’s not too much. She gets over it easily enough.

But sometimes the world was a little difficult to understand. I found myself confused as to what scenes looked like. I didn’t quite understand the mechanics of a lot of the things that were going on in the story, about the engineering process and what these “portals” between the worlds look like, how the man-made ones were even created . . . Which wouldn’t be so bad, since Liddi herself doesn’t quite understand all that, but it got to the point where my eyes were skimming over paragraphs because I couldn’t understand what was going on.

I had a problem with the ending, too. It took me by surprise, I’ll give it that, but not in a very good way.

I think I was hoping for a story more like Stitching Snow, which was one of my top reads of last year.

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Filed under 3 star books, Just added!

Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird, #2)

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

For the first half of this novel, I was falling somewhere between three and four stars, but then the last half just killed whatever hope I’d carved out for this series.

I couldn’t even deal with Marguerite anymore. She is trying to compress the wonders of the universes, of different dimensions and the people in them into nice, little stereotypical boxes. Again and again we get her going on and on about how every Paul in every universe is her true love and they’re soulmates and all the same underneath it all.

I was groaning out loud at this. She could not seem to grasp the idea that every Paul in each universe was raised a different way, in a different environment, with different people surrounding him. Obviously he’s not going to be the same Paul.

But in every dimension, Marguerite has this ridiculous hope that that Paul is going to be the same as her Paul, and he would never, ever hurt her, despite having been raised in – oh, I don’t know – a war torn environment or a Russian gang. Naw, he’s still the same guy.

If one Paul loves her, that means all the Pauls in all the dimensions must love her, right???

Of course, this would go both ways, if it was true. (Spoiler: It’s not!)

Because poor Theo has another version of himself from a different dimension who betrayed Marguerite in the last book, so that must mean her version of Theo is also bad. Even though her Theo is obviously not a bad guy.

Freaking Marguerite just cannot get over this. I swear, a third of this book is dedicated to her being all angst-y about this, wondering about the soul, whether one version of a person is reflected in all versions.

To this I say: WHO FREAKING CARES!?

Each version might have the same soul, but they were all born in different lives and have made different choices. Obviously they will be different. You adapt to your environment and attempt to make the best decisions you can. Sometimes you get crap choices and have to settle for a crap decision.

And it was about time they all started to think about how the whole jumping to different universes and taking over the version of themselves in that dimension was kinda a bad idea! I mean, my gosh, the whole taking over someone’s life – even if they look like you and technically have the same soul – and making choices for them is kinda a bad idea, no?

Choices have consequences, and making those choices and then leaving that version of themselves to deal with them is kinda a jerk move, yeah?

I don’t even get how building these freaking Firebirds was a good idea in the first place. I’m a science major, so I know all about being curious and wanting to know things, experiment with things, but there is not one good thing I could see coming from building a necklace that could take a person to different versions of themselves that would in return outweigh all the bad that would undoubtedly come from it.

Would you like a list of all the Big Bad Things That Would Undoubtedly Happen? Some of them may include: wars, bigger and badder weapons, technology we should not have yet, screwing with another universe and likely effing them over in terms of their evolution, etc, etc, . . .

Like, my gosh???

The romance needs to die a quick and painful death. If I have to read one more time about Marguerite and Paul’s undying love for each other, how they’ll find each other in any universe ’cause they’re “fated for each other,” I’m gonna loose it.

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Filed under 2 star books, Just added!

Cuckoo Song

Cuckoo Song

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The first things to shift were the doll’s eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss’s face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak.

‘What are you doing here?’ It was uttered in tones of outrage and surprise, and in a voice as cold and musical as the clinking of cups. ‘Who do you think you are? This is my family.’

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out.

Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family – before it’s too late…

I’m seriously in the minority here, but I just didn’t care for this.

“But scissors are really intended for one job alone – snipping things in two. Dividing by force. Everything on one side or the other, and nothing in between.”

The characters, setting, creepiness, uniqueness? All perfection.

But . . . there was just something missing for me. Something just didn’t click with me for this book, and I found myself wishing multiple times that the story was just over already. I had to make myself finish the book.

Which is awful, because this really had all the parts I like in a book. This should have worked for me.

This story is truly creepy. Moving dolls, an insatiable hunger of a thirteen-year-old girl that isn’t just for food,  missing her memory, a little sister screaming at all times that Triss is wrong, that she’s not really her . . .

“But scissors are really intended for one job alone - snipping things in two. Dividing by force. Everything on one side or the other, and nothing in between.”  ― Frances Hardinge, Cuckoo Song (Trista):

Every character matters in this story. There are no background characters. I love that.

The historical aspect of it was fantastic as well. A family torn apart by the loss of their son, who died right when he should have been coming home from the war. The things that can peak out in the dead of night in a historical England, old tall-tales and myths haunting grieving parents and whatnot.

It was all done to perfection.

“Perhaps illnesses could be left behind, just like small, badly concealed china corpses.”

A healthy dose of feminism was thrown in as well. Violet, the ex-fiance of the son lost in the war, who got a taste of freedom during the war when women had to help out in the workforce while the sons and husbands were dying in the snow. Her oddness at cutting her hair and not wearing the proper clothes and riding her motorcycle in an age women are only seen as dainty and full of swooning.

A shout out to good ol’ jazz and shorter skirts and calling a girl ill because she’s a little different.

“Believe me, I do understand that. And let me tell you – from one monster to another – that just because somebody tells you you’re a monster, it doesn’t mean you are.”

The family dynamics were perfectly done. A family that takes grieve and pain and wraps it all up in silent conversations and hidden truths and don’t-ask-don’t-tell about the ghost in the empty bedroom upstairs full of boy-ish things that will forever be an untouched museum.

It hit close to home. It’s full of sadness and parents who will never listen for no other reason than they could never bare to be wrong, because they’re grown ups and important and they’re parents, and therefore nothing could ever be wrong.

“Oh, why don’t we blame it on Pen?” Not-Triss heard herself snap, in a voice that sounded harsher and more brutal than her own. something had burst, and the words welled up in spite of all her attempts to dam them. “That’s what we always do, isn’t it? That’s what she’s for, isn’t it? We blame everything on Pen and then we change the subject. And nothing matters as long as we don’t talk about it.”

So why didn’t I like this more? I don’t really know. All the right factors and parts are here to make up a great book, but I never really loved reading about any of it.

That’s as good as I’ve got.

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Filed under 3 star books, Just added!

The Hunt

The Hunt (The Cage, #2)

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

They’ve left the cage—but they’re not free yet.

After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok’s pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders.

The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt’s Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she’ll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.

That ending . . . I can’t. I just can’t even.

I’m super impressed by this series. There are so many ways in which this book could have been horrible.

Instead, I think this may be one of my top favorite alien-esque books I’ve ever read. Definitely one of the best alien series I’ve ever read, by far.

My biggest complaint with Shepherd’s previous books and series was that there were always parts that lagged, in my opinion. I would grow bored. The love interests would either get all my love or all my indifference.

But here . . . Shepherd is able to give me characters who betray, hurt people who trusted them, but they’re also redeemable. I loved that. Too often authors write about characters that could do no wrong . . . or are the bad guys, but are secretly cinnamon rolls on the inside.

Here, Cassian has betrayed Cora big time. And now we get to see the aftermath of that. Personally, had I been Cora, I would have slugged him the next time I saw him.

Instead, Cora plots. She’ll play along with Cassian’s plan to win the Gauntlet, let him hone her powers to prove humanity’s worth. But she’ll do it her way.

I loved that. I loved that while Cora is given two bad options repeatedly, she decides to make a third option for herself.

Cassian completely redeems himself in my eyes. He betrayed her before, plain and simple, but he regrets it now, and understands he has to earn Cora’s trust back.

I loved that Cora was never afraid to let Cassian have it. She’ll call him on his BS at all times, call out on his double-standards, on his betrayal. She understands he’s risking everything to help humanity, but Cora’s risking her life too. She’s not about to let him push her around, tell her what to do and when.

She’ll let him help her, will rely on him, but she’ll keep her own secrets tucked away too.

Cora doesn’t trust easily. She’s not one to throw herself under the bus for everyone around her. She doesn’t have a martyr complex. Showing the Kindred that humans aren’t animals is a priority, yes, but her first priority is saving her friends, then herself. She won’t risk everything for the humans around her, because she understands that she can’t save everyone.

That doesn’t mean she won’t still try to win the Gauntlet, though. Hell, she’ll even cheat it to win . . .

Nothing says humanity like cheating a competition to show the Kindred how evolved we are, huh?

I thoroughly enjoyed the romance aspect of this. It’s subtle. I don’t think I can really classify this as a love triangle, because it always seemed like Lucky was never going to really have a chance with Cora, and both were okay with that. Yeah, some kissing happened last book, but they were also thrown together in a cage and told they were each other’s perfect matches and, also, they need to reproduce together.

Obviously, I think anyone would loose their minds a little.

I loved their friendship. It’s not awkward because of the kisses before. They both made mistakes, and they let it go.

I also loved that while there are a few times Cassian reaches out to Cora, tries to get her to reciprocate his feelings, she can’t completely let go of his betrayal. Can’t say I blame her. Had it been me, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to fully trust him again.

And Cora’s still attracted to him, sure. And she won’t be cruel to Cassian about it, but his betrayal is something that’s going to take time to get over.

I was pretty over his betrayal by the end of the book, though, let me tell you.

My only issue are these gosh darn endings Shepherd seems so happy to give us. My, gosh. Can it be next year yet, please?

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Filed under 5 star books, Just added!