Book Review – City of Fallen Angels

“Or maybe it’s just that beautiful things are so easily broken by the world.”

Title: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2015

425 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads 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. 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.

Review

You left me. You made a pet out of me, and then you left me. If love were food, I would have starved on the bones you gave me.

Cassandra clare, city of fallen angels

My first books of 2020 down! My parents gifted me the rest of TMI and TDA for Christmas, so January is a Cassie Clare binge! I’ve already read the first three TMI and TID, in the order Clare suggests. I have not read the short story compilations she has also released, but I’m pretty sure that aren’t necessary to do in order to understand the plot.

Moving on. I will keep this as non-spoilery as possible, but y’all it’s the fourth book. If you haven’t read the others, you really shouldn’t be reading this anyway, right?

Jace and Clary are my babies. I want nothing to ever happen to them, but it appears Clare doesn’t share my sentiment????? Why you do this Cassie??? So, Jace is being a prick in this book (again) because he’s having terrible nightmares that involve him killing Clary. Clary has no idea how to handle him (I mean, they’ve had it rough so far and she is getting NO break from this people). Simon is dealing with the fact that Clary gave him the Mark of Cain, making him a Daylighter. He already hates being a vampire, and now he’s basically indestructable. Also, he is simultaneously dating Isabelle and Maia which is just shocking because you wouldn’t think sweet Simon would be a player, but here we are.

The plot in this book was pretty standard. We need a new villain now that Valentine is gone, so we get one – in several different forms. Each character is having their own inner crisis and learning bits and pieces of the puzzle at a time. Problem is, they don’t TALK TO EACH OTHER ENOUGH to see the bigger picture of the puzzle. Firmly believe Cassie does this on purpose, because otherwise there would be no point to the book. More demons, more intense brooding, more drama. Nothing groundbreaking, but I still didn’t want to put it down because I am TRASH for these books.

My main problem with this book was that I feel important scenes were cut from the book. It almost felt like she just deleted whole paragraphs during editing, without fixing the transitions and making it seem like we just missed out on something. I wanted to read those conversations that were left out. It’s like I knew it was there, but I couldn’t have it – I could only read the aftermath. It was kind of frustrating, and I don’t remember feeling that way during the original trilogy.

I saw the ending coming a mile away. Do I care? Not at all, because it was a great cliffhanger that made me want to immediately pick up the next book to see what happens to my babies. I understand criticisms I’ve seen about these books, however I firmly believe this book is exactly what it is supposed to be. It is fluffy, YA fantasy, and will only ever be that. Either know that going in (because come on, they’re INSANELY popular) and don’t read it if that’s not your type of book, or don’t complain when it’s over as if you were promised anything more that that. Just my opinion.

Don’t mind me, just going to go distract myself from picking up City of Lost Souls because I have actual adult responsibilities to get to! Happy reading!

eARC Review – Entwined Paths

Title: Entwined Paths (Swift Shadows #2)

Author: M.L. Greye

Publisher: Self-published

Publication date: January 3rd, 2020

664 pages

4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Royals support the crown.
Rioters wish to tear it down.

Five years ago, Emry was mourning the loss of her only brother and feeling utterly helpless. When the opportunity arose to travel to the exotic nation of Heerth, Emry jumped on it. Through the help of her friend, Trezim, she learned the skills needed to protect herself and possibly save her country.

The past five years have gone a little differently for Declan. He has been kidnapped, beaten, stolen, robbed of all that he had … and trained to become the fastest man in history. But was it all worth it in the end?

Set in a world where eye color determines one’s abilities, Emry and Declan must discover the hard way that not all eyes are created equally. Yet, when they do find their perfect match, everything seems to pair up nicely.

Review

**Thank you to the author, M.L. Greye, for providing an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

When Greye emailed me asking if I wanted the opportunity to review the second installment of the Swift Shadows series, I jumped at the chance. I loved Of Rioters and Royals and was stoked to get a sequel so quickly. One thing I should mention before I dive in, is that this is a prequel. This was a brief disappointment to me, I wanted to know what was happened next! However, it was very brief because then I saw I got to learn how Emry and Declan came to be, and wowza it was something I didn’t know I wanted but definitely needed.

Entwined Paths takes place 5 years prior to the events in Of Rioters and Royals. You get to see how Emry became The Mistress and what led her to that decision. You see her background with her father, Cit, and Trezim – and how she learned to wield her powers with the strength she does in ORAR. Simultaneously, we get to see what Declan went through as one of the Stolen – and how his powers strengthen with hers. It was lovely to have this level of description to their past selves and experience their trials and tribulations. I especially loved when Emry was competing in the staff competition as she was becoming The Mistress – she’s a powerful lady who really cares about her country and more power to her.

The dream sequences where Emry and Declan met to get through their mutual situations were just so heartwarming. I love their relationship so much and it helped their character arc to see what contact they had before that fateful day where she dropped down from the tree in front of him. I will read anything Greye writes in this world because it is just so fascinating to me. The magic system is completely inspired (your powers are based on eye color) and makes me wish I lived in this world so I could run really past or control fire.

One thing – this book is LONG. It is 664 pages of beauty, yes, but it will take some time to get through. And when I said I was briefly disappointed by the prequel status, I meant it, but THAT ENDING was a brief hint to the current world and I NEED THE NEXT ONE STAT!

These books are available on Kindle Unlimited, so please go pick them up!!

Happy reading, folks!

2020 Reading Goals!

Happy New Year my bookish friends!! I’m so excited for 2020, and I have a bunch of goals I want to keep in mind while reading this year! Not to be confused with a typical resolution list, the below are some goals I want to reach toward to improve my reading habits, bookstagram, and blogging! I started my blog in 2019 as a method of getting my thoughts and feelings about my books down, and I’ve really loved it. At the end of 2019 I got into a slump and wasn’t really posting, so I want to work on that this year!

READING GOAL

I plan on reading at least 150 books this year. This is my Goodreads goal, and since I read over 160 this year I feel I can make it happen. I also want to complete the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I came as close as ever to completing it in 2019, so I’d like to be able to say I completed it in 2020.

BE MORE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT I’M READING

I know this can mean anything, so let me explain. I have a million TBR books, but I seem to be reading only new released and not backlist. So this year I can break this goal down to a few smaller goals

  1. Read 2 subscription box books a month until I am caught up
  2. Read a backlist book each month
  3. Binge series’ together

NETGALLEY READING/POSTING

This one is short and simple. I want to get my Netgalley percentage up to 80% and keep it there. I am currently at 75%, so I feel I can make this happen over the next year. On top of this, I’d like to be mindful about posting my promotional photos when I say I will, by actually using my planner like I said I would.

BLOGGING

I’d like to do a few things in this category. First, I’d like to review every book I read, and post them to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This one may not happen, but I figure I can at least review *most* of the books I read. I also would like to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, which I feel will help my blog be more diverse and interesting.

BOOKSTAGRAM

I would like to be more engaged in my bookstagram. I am incredibly shy and super awkward, so I don’t often interact with my fellow bookstagrammers. I want to reach out to at least a few a month to talk about books, and hopefully begin some friendships. I also want to continue talking to my Baltimore Bookstagram friends in our group chat. On top of this, I’d like to try and post daily, along with being more active in stories and highlights.

I think this about covers my plans for 2020. I thrive when I have a semblance of organization (the actual organization is unnecessary, so I already feel better with having this list written down for future reference.

Talk with me in the comments about your goals! Do we share any?

Happy 2020 reading, folks!!

eARC Review – Good Girls Lie

Title: Good Girls Lie

Author: JT Ellison

Publisher: HARLEQUIN – MIRA

Publication date: December 31st, 2019

384 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

Review

**Thank you to Harlequin Mira, JT Ellison, and Netgalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Good Girls Lie is a boarding school mystery, which calls to me because I LOVED these types of books in my high school days. Give me some snarky, privileged girls, secret societies, old campuses, and some murder and it’s a great combination in a book for me. Good Girls Lie follows Ash Carlisle, a sophomore from England who moves to Virginia to attend the Goode School after both of her parents commit suicide. She is looking for a fresh start where she can just put her head down and get the education she always wanted. When her roommate dies after falling off the bell tower, her world starts to crumble around her. However, this is only the beginning of several events that will up end her life…

Good Girls Lie really allowed me to reminisce to my high school days where I read the Private series by Kate Brian, which is a similar take on ultra-rich, all girl, boarding schools where chaos, hazing, and murder happens. These are almost a guilty pleasure type book for me, and Good Girls Lie definitely fit that bill. There were twists and turns, mysteries, and some nefarious actions by our teenage characters.

One critique I will give is that the ending was fairly confusing. I’m still not 100% sure what exactly happened in that epilogue. Without giving any spoilers, there is a major twist towards the end that changes everything, with an epilogue afterwards. I might need to reread it to fully understand what happened, but some more clarity in the writing would have been nice.

For fans of Kate Brian’s Private series, JT Ellison looks at friendships, truth, and secrets in this new, dramatic boarding school based novel.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – Scythe

Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication date: November 22nd, 2016

435 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Review

Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.

Neal shusterman, scythe

My boyfriend bought me this book on a whim and it sat on my TBR cart for months until he picked it up, shoved it in my face, and told me to read it because he bought it for me. I’M SO GLAD HE DID. I loved Scythe and the take on this utopian/dystopian future world. This is my first Neal Shusterman book, but I also have his Unwind series on my TBR so this has me putting his other works higher on my list!

In the futuristic world of Scythe, there is no war, disease, or dying really. Unless you are chosen by a Scythe for gleaning, the only method of population control as all of the world’s problems are basically solved. Scythe’s are responsible for gleaning humans in order to keep a sustainable amount of people on Earth, and this is determined by the Thunderhead – the big computer that runs the world. In Scythe, you follow Citra and Rowan, two youngsters who are chosen to apprentice in Scythe craft. Through their stories, you see that the world is not as perfect as it seems, and corruption is still rampant in the Scythedom. Citra and Rowan must decide which paths to take and determine right from wrong, something that’s super easy for teenagers… right?

I find it hard to put into words how amazing this reading experience was for me. It evoked such complex emotions and makes you think about how the world would be if this was our reality. It brings up a discussion on death and murder – what is acceptable and what is not. Citra and Rowan as characters are such a healthy combination of unredeemable and morally sound – you’ll just have to trust me! On top of this, you get action, a long-distance chase scene, and some serious violence. This is definitely not a fluffy book that will be an easy read.

I really can’t find any criticisms to give this book. I set it down and could only say wow to my boyfriend when he asked how it was. I was hooked from the beginning and Scythe never let go. The writing is sharp and detailed without being flowery or overly done. The characters have back story and a fantastic arc and development. Even the background characters make themselves known and jump off the page, all for eclectic reasons.

If you love science fiction, futuristic, and books that make you think and question the world around you – pick up Scythe immediately. Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – The Unhoneymooners

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: May 14th, 2019

400 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

Review

I can appreciate my body in a bikini and still want to set fire to the patriarchy.

christina lauren, the unhoneymooners

Friends, I officially love Christina Lauren and their books. This is my first read from the writing duo, but I am an auto buyer for life now. I really can’t wait to read more from them. I picked this up on a whim in Rehoboth Beach while browsing an independent book store – mostly because it was used and on sale. I am SO GLAD I DID!

The Unhoneymooners tracks Olive, a quirky and loud woman who has no shame or filter. This makes Ethan, our other MC, uncomfortable because he isn’t sure how to handle her. Olive’s twin sister is getting married to Ethan’s younger brother, so they are forced to spend time together. When everyone but them gets sick at the wedding, they are forced into taking the honeymoon together so it doesn’t go to waste. They try so hard to stay away from each other, but sometimes differences have a way of attracting…

Y’allll Olive is my love. If Ethan didn’t end up with her, I totally would have. Christina Lauren manages to really craft well-rounded characters in stand-alone novels, which is impressive to me and lends to a better read. I really understood Olive’s point of view and where she was coming from – but same with Ethan. Their romance was easy to read and easy to love.

This is a total beach read. If you have this on your TBR, either read it immediately (because hello, it’s amazing) or save if for the beach vacation you’re dreaming about now in the dead of winter. I personally read this on my couch, but would have loved to be toes in the water, ass in the sand with it and a fruity drink – doesn’t help that most of it is set in Hawaii!!

Please read this is you love contemporary romance! Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

Couple leaning on brick wall

Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

Author: Jacqueline Firkins

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication date: December 17th, 2019

384 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

Review

**Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers, Jacqueline Firkins, and Netgalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Hearts, Strings and Other Breakable Things follows upcoming high school senior Edie in her adventures as a foster child who has just been taken in by her wildly rich aunt in an effort to show off for her wildly rich friends and use her as a charity case. She will be going to the all girls prep school nearby with her spoiled cousins. She used to spend a lot of time at that house before her grandparent’s died, so she also gets to catch up with her childhood crush, who has gotten very attractive over the years… until she finds out he has a girlfriend. Then, a new boy, Henry, comes onto the scene and she’s confused. Henry is a stone cold player, but he seems legitimately into her. Which boy is right for her?

Edie has a lot going on. She ruined her friendship with her best friend from home by making out with her boyfriend and getting caught. She has no job or money for college, and is constantly put down for being poor by just about everyone in the book. She’s got it rough, but man I was not a fan of her character, or most of the characters actually.

I have real mixed feelings about this book. I liked it through most of the book, but the ending really lot me. The characters are not redeemable and not to spoil anything, but I did not agree with which boy Edie ends up with. I feel like it was so obviously the wrong choice and I’m still bitter about it.

This book didn’t end up being my favorite. It was not bad, by any means, just not as much my cup of tea. I enjoyed several pieces of it, especially Edie’s special lexicon blog where she posts fun definitions of words that relate to what’s going on in her life. There were redeemable parts to this book, and I do enjoy contemporaries, which is why I still rated this fairly highly.

If you like books with irredeemable characters and contemporaries, this will be the book for you.

happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂