ZOMG! I did it! I finally read The Mortal Instruments series, well at least books 1-3. Anyhoo, yes, I finally know why everyone loves JACE! I feel so accomplished or something because these books have been on my TBR since the beginning of time.
Okay, so I just wanted to quickly scribble down my thoughts so I wouldn’t forget because it’s already starting to blur.
- Wow, that’s a fast way to assimilate to a world you never even knew existed. Way to roll with the punches, Clary.
- Gah! Clary’s annoying and bratty and spoiled, so of course I can see why Jace fell in love with her at first sight.
- Really, Clary? You can’t be that clueless about Simon’s true feelings for you. *shakes head*
- Cool world building but introduction of so many supernatural creatures/Down Worlders feels overwhelming and underdeveloped at the same time.
- Jace is so amusing/charming/arrogant.
- Ah, so that explains how they are brother/sister. Seems probable.
- Huh, what? Now Clary and Simon are dating? When did that happen? And why? Makes no sense.
- Of course Clary is a special Shadowhunter with powers she’s never known about before but suddenly knows how to use.
- Book 2 is a repeat of book one. I’m not amused.
- Jace is so broken.
- Finally, we move on to a new location. Love it.
- Disappointed by the romance between Alec and Magnus.
- War means that people die, even the innocent. That sucks, but it’s a bold move.
- Jonathan vs. Jace… Aaaah, so that is who they really are!!
- I don’t understand Simon’s new mark. Grrrr
- Awwww, HEA ending is sweet, but will it last?
Sorry, I know my notes make very little sense. I guess the main problem with knowing a lot about the series before ever having read it was that I quickly grew impatient. Clare does some incredible things with illustrating her world with words, but most times, I felt like she was being too descriptive when it wasn’t necessary and not descriptive enough when more details about what exactly was going on would have been helpful. Still, I think Clare weaved her themes in to the story very well. The present tale was tied to a richly layered backstory that was just as fascinating. The Shadowhunters have a long and pained history, and their constant willingness to sacrifice themselves by fighting demons almost excused their prejudices towards mundanes.
I will say that I was disappointed by how instant all the romances seemed to be. I was expecting it with Jace and Clary so that didn’t bother me as much, but I wasn’t expecting it with Magnus and Alec. I really thought their romantic tension would be a bit more palpable, like that of Qhuinn and Blay from Black Dagger Brotherhood, but sadly, the fact that they seemed to spend very little time together yet were suddenly in love was weird, and even kind of creepy considering that Magnus is 800 years old and Alec only 18. I’ve come to understand that the two have a huge fan base, but I’m failing to see why. But then again, I guess I can’t really expect theirs to be a relationship like Qhuay’s because it’s a YA series.
Overall, I had a fun time with this series. It was great to finally discover the stories for myself after hearing about the characters for so long. I definitely consider myself an invested fan and am looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.
Yikes, the year is almost out, and I’m so behind on life! To try to get a few last reading challenges done, I’ve been listening to audiobooks back to back while I do everything from dishes to driving. Here are a few minis.
Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh
Guild Hunter #1
Narrated by Justine Eyre
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
I’d heard amazing things about Singh’s Psy-Changeling series for years now, but this is actually the first time I read (listen to) a full novel of hers. I’ve tried out one of her short stories before, but since it was for the Psy-Changeling series, I felt pretty lost. But, not this time.
I’ll admit that when I first started Angels’ Blood, I was pretty apprehensive. I love vampires, but Angels…not so much. And the pairing of the two never seems to really work for me. Maybe it’s because it’s hard for me to accept Angels as sexual beings, with genders and genitals (*giggles*. Okay, I’ll grow up now.)
So, imagine my surprise when I found myself truly enjoying Angels’ Blood! I think the main reason why it blew me away was because it mostly stayed away from a religious context. Instead, the focus was on a kick ass heroine, Elena, whose stubbornness never subsided, and an Alpha Archangel male, Raphael, who after centuries of thinking he was alone, finds the one woman who brings excitement back into his existence. The romance was tantalizing and heady, and the mystery and action was fun/terrifying to follow along with. I also really liked the reason why vampires were made. It was a unique take on vampire lore.
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
Naked Werewolf #1
Narrated by Amanda Ronconi
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
Despite not liking the narrator’s voice at all, the story was freaking hilarious, if not a bit drawn out.
Ready to leave behind a breakup and her overbearing parents, Mo moves to Grundy, Alaska to start a new life. But her cold nights quickly heat up when she catches the eye of the annoyingly handsome and smug, Cooper.
The story threw me off for a couple of reasons. The first being Mo’s quick acceptance of Cooper’s two-nature ability, and the second being Cooper’s status as Alpha of his pack. I don’t read many werewolf books, but there are certain things I’ve come to expect about Alphas, so it really boggled my mind to meet a ‘docile’ Alpha like Cooper. Other than that, there wasn’t much going on in the middle, beside Cooper becoming increasingly paranoid, which sort of built up the mystery part of the story. But the highlight was Mo and her flippant yet caring, and fun, girls’-girl personality.
Married with Zombies
by Jesse Petersen
Living with the Dead #1
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
I’m kind of torn as to whether or not I liked the narrator’s voice for this book. Sometimes it worked perfectly, others it seems more drone-like (which I guess was appropriate for a zombie novel).
Regardless, I had so much fun listening to this audiobook. I’ve long since struggled with getting myself to read zombie novels, so listening to one was the perfect remedy. The chapter titles were hilarious zombie themed marriage tips, since Sarah and David start off as a married couple struggling in their relationship and going to marriage counseling only to discover their therapist eating brains!
In no time at all, I found myself rooting for Sarah and David; willing them to stay together and stay alive. Really, my only complaint is that it was too short. Eager for more, I found two additional books in the series that I now can’t wait to start.
Challenge(s): 111 in ‘11 Challenge, 2011 Audio Book Challenge
Obviously, I don’t know the meaning of the word mini. Anyhoo, have you signed up my Holiday Bookmark Exchange yet? Why the heck not? I want to send you a bookmark.
Listening Library, Inc.
December 8th 2009
Audible | goodreads
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her
Since I’m not really a huge fan of angel themed stories, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been disappointed by the majority I’ve read, I wasn’t really interested in reading the Fallen series, despite the gorgeous covers. But since I won the audiobook from Bewitched Bookworms (*besos*) and since I was going on a road trip, I decided to load this one up on my Kindle and finally give it a go!
What transpired was a completely haunting tale of secrets and seduction…okay not really that last part, but I thought those two words sounded sexy together.
Luce, sent away to a reformed school after an horrible accident she can’t quite remember, is immediately drawn to the most gorgeous guy on the Sword & Cross campus. But despite her best efforts to get near him, Daniel continuously pushes Luce away. Still, Luce is convinced they share a deep connection and refuses to give up on him until she finds out why.
I have to say, there’s something kind of refreshing about reading a story in which the girl is the stalker for once. Actually, in Luce’s case, it was down right funny because even as she repeatedly admitted to being Daniel’s stalker and feeling embarassed every time she got caught spying on him, that didn’t stop her from pursuing him.
As the protagonist, I thought Luce was equal parts amusing and frustrating…with an extra helping on the latter. She seemed so much older than she was, but not necessary wiser. Also, she often kept her emotions at bay and didn’t really react to things like I would have expected her to. I guess I could hardly blame her, but she really irritated me after a while because though she was inquisitive, she wasn’t particularly proactive. Yes, she asked questions, but they never seemed like the right kind of questions that would provide her with the best answers. Instead, she kind of took everything in at face value; a trait of hers that became increasingly irksome rather than adding flare to the mystery.
Daniel was far more interesting, and but I don’t feel like I really got to know him at all. He only added to Luce’s confusion by always talking in circle and never really giving her any useful information. I guess since I’m not a half-truths kind of gal, it peeved me to no end that every time I thought I’d finally get a clue to what Luce actually was, explanations were trailed off. All of this was an obvious ploy to build up the main plot arc for the series, but it left the Angel lore lacking and murky, effectively hindering the exploration of the mythology. I kept thinking more of an explanation would come before the book ended, but sadly, it didn’t.
While my curiosity has been piqued, it not enough to compel me to pick up the next books immediately. Another thing holding me back is that these group of ‘teenagers’ were so heavy. Missing was the playful banter, witty remarks, and goofy good times. I get that this is a ‘darker’ story than most, but still, I would have like to have read about teens being teens, especially if they are stuck at a reform school. Yanno?!
Story aside, the audiobook narration by Justine Eyre was mesmerizing. Since I’ve only listened to a dozen or so audiobooks, I didn’t really think I could differentiate between the story and the performance, but with Fallen I could. Eyre played each roll perfectly and with a conviction that I could feel in my bones.
Overall, I’d say the beginning of Fallen was more entertaining than its conclusion because of how prolonged the mystery turned out to be. Fallen didn’t exactly end with a cliffhanger, but it did leave me with a lot of unanswered questions. I have a feeling that the rest of the series is set up this way and that doesn’t exactly entice me into picking up the next book. Instead, I think I will wait until book 4 is released (in 2012) so I can read them back to back.
Challenge(s): 111 in ‘11 Challenge, 2011 Audio Book Challenge
Urgent Message from Book Blogger Appreciation Week:
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May 17, 2011
Amazon | Goodreads
How does a foul-mouthed angel end up as the last hope for all of Heaven and Earth?
When Seraph Emma is maimed and tossed from Heaven by a rogue angel who’s taken charge, she fears she’ll never be allowed to return. Tasked with the impossible job of showing the self-loathing (and not even human!) Jason his worth, Emma is sure she’s doomed to fail.
Meanwhile, having wormed his way into Heaven, the corrupt Everett has trapped God in Hell and has designs on unleashing evil everywhere. Fortunately, if there’s one thing Emma can’t do (in addition to minding her language), it’s give up. Determined to save Jason and get back to Heaven—even if it means going to Hell—Emma’s plan is simple yet impossible: trick the Devil to save God.
What she doesn’t count on is the devotion and, well, humanity she finds in Jason; the spirit, hidden compassion, and raw sex appeal within the Devil; and the vulnerability of her own heart. With the help of two unlikely allies, she’ll wage the battle for Heaven. But will Emma be sidetracked by a new sort of heaven along the way?
What’s truly more dangerous? Falling from Heaven, or falling in love?
In Six Words: Hell have no fury like Heaven.
Just looking at the cover of this book makes me want to love it. It’s simple and pure, yet something about it feels ominous. Unfortunately, the story didn’t resonate with me the way I’d hoped, but it still held some intrigue.
In the ultimate battle of Good versus Evil, Seraph Emma is sent to earth to complete the impossible task of helping half-breed vampire Jason to see his worth. Along the way, Emma loses her wings, takes a trip hell, saves God, plays pool with the Devil and falls in love. All in a day’s work for an angel who possess incredible faith and strength. But Emma’s goodness also leads to her ultimate sacrifice, which just may keep her trapped with her worst enemy forever.
The prologue was amazing. Opening with the Devil condemning a soul to an eternity of tenfold retribution for the evil she committed on earth, after, of course, he gets a bit of pleasure out of Hell’s newest inhabitant. Then chapter one happened and the story took a turn that made it seem like a different book altogether.
I’d say the main issues I had with Crushed Seraphim pertain to the narrative style and the pace. For the most part, I believe the story was intended to be told as third person omniscient, but the transitions between characters POV’s wasn’t always clear and it sometimes veered into an awkward territory that was rather limited, which affected the pace of the story and caused some confusion.
Another reason why I couldn’t get comfortable with the narrative was the over-stylized dialogue. Jason, for example, was a modern day vampire, nineteen generations removed from the first of his kind, yet his speak was so formal. For a vampire, he just seemed too proper, and he never relaxed. As crazy as I am about vampires, I couldn’t find anything particularly appealing about him, and as a love interest for Emma, he bored me.
I also felt like there was too much bouncing around from dimension. Heaven, earth, hell, even purgatory was thrown in for good measure, and the constant switching between settings was off putting.
While the premise of the story was fascinating, somehow it wasn’t always cohesive. Emma, a seraph, is sent to earth to help a half-breed realize he has good in him, but she didn’t know the history of half-breeds and why they exist? Jason had to explain it to her? I felt like this was done more for the reader’s sake rather than Emma’s, and could have been introduced differently. Other instances of incohesiveness included how foolish angels and even God were made to look, and how easily deceived they were instead of being ‘all knowing’ and able to recognize good intent, yet the one fooling them was an ‘evil’ angel.
Despite the awkward layout, Anastasia did develop many mesmerizing ideas. Her vivid descriptions of Hell and the hallway of horrors were nothing short of engrossing, terrifying even. And, I found the vampire mythology she created to be unique and interesting. I wasn’t expecting to get to read about vampires in Crushed Seraphim so that felt like an extra treat.
Ironically, the saving grace of the novel was Jack, the devil, or Satan as he prefers to be called. Jack has the the kind of dynamic that undoubtedly convinces you that he invented sex and sin, and only he is capable of bring you any satisfaction. His presence was so overpowering that his every scene brought to life an array of heated emotions, from laughter to lust, and yes, even to love.
I’m still not sure how I felt about Emma. Her faith in God was admirable but that was about the only thing that made me like her. She wasn’t very resolved with her decisions, and it made her seem flaky and shallow instead of snarky and clever. Possibly my biggest frustration with her was she just had too much going on. She talked about her human life and her human lover, reminiscing even though once she passed judgment to enter heaven her past was supposed to be erased. And the fact that she kept changing from an angel to human repeatedly kind of made the magic of being an angel seem less special, as if it wasn’t really a great and precious gift. Also, she had too many suitors, and it became tiresome to hear how she was wanted by all the men in the story.
The end wasn’t a heart pounding cliffhanger, but the story does leave off unfinished. Too much was left open for me to consider it a satisfactory conclusion, which is always a bit disappointing.
Ultimately, Crushed Seraphim is a spellbounding juxtaposition of heaven and hell. It showcases angels as wanton creatures capable of deceit and jealousy and a devil who epitomizes the phrase delicious as sin. It may have been a bit rough around the edges in terms of narration and pace, but it took typical portrayals of good and evil and shook it up by adding an array of temptations.
Perhaps angels just aren’t my thing, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by Debra Anastasia. You can’t be a Twihard and not have heard of POUGHKEEPSIE! It was an epically loved Twilight fanfiction which she has turned into an original novel, and it will be released in October 2011. I didn’t have the opportunity to read it as fanfiction, so I really can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Challenge(s): 111 in ‘11 Challenge, Vampire Challenge 2011
Angel Burn (Angel Trilogy #1)
L. A. Weatherly
Hardcover, 403 pages
May 24, 2011
Amazon | GR | TBD
Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil.
In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L.A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.
I’m honestly torn on whether I liked this book or not. I’m gonna say I’m leaning towards thinking it a pretty good story, but many elements of the way it was written just didn’t sit well with me.
Half-human, half-angel Willow, unaware of her true nature, quickly finds herself catapulted into a world she never imagined possible. Using her psychic abilities, she discovers the existence of Angels. But they are not the friendly creatures she and the rest of the world thought them to be. They feed off of human energy, sucking away their life force and leaving them damaged and diseased.
Startled by this discovery, Willow sets out to the the Church of Angels to try to uncover the truth and to help those that the Angels are using as human cattle. But as soon as the Angels become aware of what she is, a being that shouldn’t be possible because Angels can not breed, they order her death.
Cue the cute hero: Alex, Angel assassin extraordinaire!
Forced to go into hiding with Alex, Willow learns about a secret war that has been going on for years, one that pairs AKs (Angle Killers) against Angels. But the battle has only just begun, and the humans are already losing. A second wave of Angels is expected to arrive on earth, devastating more human minds with their glamour and ending humanity as we know it.
When it is revealed that Willow may be the only one able to defeat the Angels, will she risk her life and her love for Alex to do it?
Despite the middle that lulled and stalled, I thought the story was interesting. It opened with some fast action and ended much the same. Plus, the very idea of Angels feeding off of humans added a chill factor that you just couldn’t shake. I found myself wanting to race through the slower parts to find out if the humans will be saved.
Some details were too incredible to be believable or too predictable, like Alex being seventeen and working for the CIA as an assassin or him learning accept what Willow was and falling helplessly in love with her, but still, it worked in an entertaining sort of way. The romance, despite the insta-love, was sweet, and took some time to develop, and by time I mean about 5 days. That’s a lifetime when you are discovering love for the first time, eh? And, let’s face it, nothing spells love faster than taking a dangerous road trip with a hot guy. Plus, there was something aching beautiful in the way that Alex and Willow both had haunted pasts that really did draw them to each other. So, yeah, I liked the story.
But, what really irked me was the fact that the prose was all over the place. Please, please, dear author, stick to one narrative style!
I’m really not sure if Weatherly was trying to be artsy or unique, but the constant switch from third person to first person really irritated me. It was over-stylized. Just as I was finally becoming comfortable reading from Willow’s first person account, Bam! A swooping shift would occur in a way that ripped me away from how engrossed I’d become in the tale. More appalling/baffling was that this usually happened from one paragraph to the next, instead of from chapter to chapter, which is a bit more common if it is to happen.
Yet, Weatherly didn’t stop there. Not only did I have to endure the unrelenting change in narrative mode, I also had to deal with narrator shifts as well when the story alternated from Willow to Alex to Raziel and finally to Jonah’s perspective. It was just too much.
Really, this is a matter of personal preference. And though I like point of view shifts between my characters and could have dealt with that better had it stopped there, I just couldn’t appreciate anything about the constant changes in mode of narration. I would have enjoyed the story much more if it hadn’t alternated like it did. It proved to be one to many face slaps.
*sighs* Studying literature has ruined me because I find that it is really rare that I’m a fan of overly stylized narrations in the telling of a single story. All the weird but interesting metafiction books I’ve been reading this semester has taught me as much. I think. LOL
Challenge(s): 111 in ‘11 Challenge