Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Cassandra Clare- City of Bones

 Cassandra Clare- City of Bones - book 1

Book Description 

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


This was a book that I’d heard about for a while but had never gotten around to reading. What finally got me to read City of Bones was all the hype around Cassandra Clare’s latest book Clockwork Angel. Now I can say that it was good and I understand why I’d heard so many great things.

The characters in the book had strong personalities that were engaging. My favorite character was Simon. His strong loyalty to Clary was really sweet and his bravery when dealing in a world where he was significantly out matched (since he was just a human) was admirable. There were also some really great characters set as villains. They were horrible but it was possible to relate to them and understand how they got that way. This made the story believable and layered and I loved that.

 The world building was engaging with good details that were nicely spaced and the story was action packed and I never got bored. For example, Cassandra channeled some of the creative genius of J.K.Rowling and introduced the concept of a flying vampire motorcycle. Since the book was YA, I also loved how the author inter-weaved a negative slant on discrimination into the story.

The book was written using 3rd person. Those who have read my other reviews will probably remember that I don’t enjoy 3rd person narrative styles as much as 1st. Well for this book it didn’t bother me. The main reason I don’t like this type of narrative style as much is because I find it harder to connect with the book. In this case the characters were so engaging and well developed that I had no trouble connecting to them and in particular the protagonist, which can be an area were 3rd person struggles.

There were a few aspects of the book I didn’t like. The biggest was the ending. Now obviously I can’t explain this in much detail without giving away major spoilers but what I can say is that it made me uncomfortable. I have great confidence that Cassandra will fix what made me uncomfortable in the next two books, but I still wish she hadn’t done that particular plot twist at all. Frankly, it put me off the next book because I don’t want to wade through where she goes from there to get to the resolution.

The next thing I didn’t like was Jace and Clary’s ability to annoy me. I’m sorry to all the fans that really like these characters but I don’t really get the appeal. Jace was portrayed as strong and brave but to me he seemed reckless, inconsiderate and self-absorbed. I found Clary annoying for similar reasons. For example, I found Clary’s friendly neglect of Simon baffling. I felt that she should have been more protective of him since he was human and I didn’t understand how she could go long periods without thinking about him, and then feel annoyed when he was with Isabelle. I also didn’t like her handling of Alec and his crush on Jace. The last and final clincher in my feelings towards these characters was their romance. I didn’t really feel it, even though it seemed like Clary will end up with Jace. I’m thinking Cassandra was going with subtlety (which I normally love) but missed the mark.

I think this book could have been so much better with only a few differences, which is disappointing. It was Cassandra’s debut so maybe that has something to do with it.   

My rating out of 5


Friday, November 26, 2010

Follow me Friday

 Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy For Books so head on over to join in the fun!

"What is your favorite book cover?"

My answer:  Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Go check out Breaking the Spine if you are interested in participating in Waiting on Wednesday! This week's book

Book description yet  to be released

I am so excited for Kim Harrison's Pale Demon (book 9), which is coming out February 22, 2011. I love so many great series but I always find myself waiting anxiously for the next installment of The Hollows.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  •  BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser: 

 "Demon hunting and fashion," Clary said. "I never would have thought they went together."
Isabelle laughed out loud. "You'd be surprised."

  City of Bone (#1) by Cassandra Clare

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Melissa De La Cruz - Blue Bloods

Melissa De La Cruz - Blue Bloods - Book 1

Book Description 

Schuyler Van Alen is confused about what is happening to her. Her veins are starting to turn blue, and she’s starting to crave raw meat. Soon, her world is thrust into an intricate maze of secret societies and bitter intrigue. Schuyler has never been a part of the trendy crowd at her prestigious New York private school. Now, all of a sudden, Jack Force, the most popular guy in school, is showing an interest in her. And when one of the popular girls is found dead, Schuyler and Jack are determined to get to the bottom of it.

Schuyler wants to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger? Melissa de la Cruz’s vampire mythology, set against the glitzy backdrop of New York City, is a juicy and intoxicating read.


The blue bloods world has a great mix of two of my favorite paranormal themes: Vampires and Angels. Melissa used an unique idea where angels are cursed to drink blood after they have fallen from heaven, thus creating the vampire myth. She then combined this with high society chick-lit and a love triangle. While I loved the concept the book did not fulfill my expectations for a good YA read.

I couldn’t conceptualize 15-16 year olds drinking and going to clubs. I may have been able to get past this if they were being rebellious but it seemed to be an accepted part of the book that this was ok. Melissa explained this ambivalence away by saying their vampire nature didn’t allow them to feel the effects. 

The book was written using a 3rd person narrative style and it switched between different character points of view. I didn’t like this. In general, I don’t like 3rd person narratives as much as 1st person but I’m usually still happy to read them. By switching between the characters I had to read from the perspective of characters that had little to redeem them (namely Mimi). The characters were often superficial, vain and boring.   

Schuyler Van Alen, the protagonist, was a bit of a loner, who doesn’t fit in with the other rich, high society kids at her school. Melissa set this character up nicely to captivate readers with her journey to self discovery but failed to deliver. Instead the character lacked consistency and depth, with her personality set out like a production. At the beginning of the book she is rather shy and lacking in confidence then towards the end of the book she has a bit of a personality transplant and is suddenly a lot more confident with at one point modeling half naked.

The mystery element of the book was intriguing with some good plot twists but it took too long to get into it. It was also a little confusing at the beginning because the author periodically placed historical diary entries that were way before their time in terms of the plot.

If I was asked if I would recommend this book I would say no, read something else, but if I was asked if I’d read the next book in the series I’d say yes, but only if I had nothing better to read.

My rating out of 5


Friday, November 19, 2010

Eagerly Anticipating for December 2010

eS. L Wright
Demon Underground 

Half-human and half-demon, Allay has finally warmed up to her new life feeding off the customers at her downtown bar whens he finds herself brokering a truce between New York City's most powerful demons. But when she senses assassins around every corner, Allay hides out of sight and underground-until combatants in the growing war tempt her back above the surface...

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Roc; Original edition (December 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451463676
ISBN-13: 978-0451463678

Richelle Mead 
Last Sacrifice

 The astonishing final novel in Richelle Mead's epic series!

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.

 Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (December 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595143068
ISBN-13: 978-1595143068

Margaret Ronald
Soul Hunt

The hunter has become the hunted . . .

Without even realizing what she was doing, Genevieve Scelan has made a bad bargain. The Red Sox fanatic and supernatural tracker known as "Hound" for her extraordinary power of scent wishes she could leave magic behind now that she’s eradicated the evil cabal that oppressed Boston’s undercurrent for centuries. But now her talent’s fading, the local adepts’ squabbles are turning ugly, and worse, she’s just discovered that she owes a very large debt to someone . . . or some thing. And in the undercurrent, debts are taken very seriously.

Evie has until midwinter to pay up . . . or else. So when she gets a job that might save her—even if she’s breaking all her own rules to take it—she can’t pass it up. Now, with danger at her back and uncertain allies beside her, she’ll trace the very bones of Boston itself to protect both the city and the people she loves.

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Eos; Original edition (December 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061662437
ISBN-13: 978-0061662430

Nancy Holzner

A demon is stalking Vicky's dreams-just as several of Deadtown's zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. And when Vicky realizes she is the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown's living nightmare.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace; Original edition (December 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0441019803
ISBN-13: 978-0441019809

DD Barant
Killing Rocks

FBI profiler Jace Valchek's ticket home from the twisted parallel universe where she's been called to duty hinges on the capture of series killer Aristotle Stoker - and an alliance with a sorcerer known as Asher. The problem: Asher has joined forces with some of the most dangerous creatures Jace has ever encountered. The solution: There is none, without Asher's help. Jace's goal seems simple enough - to get her man, like always. But just hours after she arrives in Vegas, she's abducted...and she isn't even sure who the real enemy is. Now Jace has to wonder if she's the predator or the prey in a very dangerous game that could change not only her fate, but the world's...Meanwhile, a serial killer is still on the loose. And time has already run out...

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (December 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312942605
ISBN-13: 978-0312942601

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love triangles

I have been reading a lot of books featuring love triangles recently. Especially young adult books.

When love triangles are good I really enjoy them, but if done wrong they can make me drop a book faster than anything else. However, what they never fail to do to is extract strong feelings from me.

Lately, some of the biggest selling series involve love triangles, but if the book doesn't end up the way you hoped, you can get disappointed.

A small sample of examples (YA):

1. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
2. House of night - P C Cast
3. Blue Bloods - Melissa De La Cruz
4. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
5. Vampire Diaries - L J Smith
6. Darkest Powers - Kelley Armstrong
7. Mortal Instruments - Cassandra Clare

Possible love triangle scenarios:

1. The 'other' guy pines (very rare)
2. The 'other' guy finds someone else, no hard feelings (common)
3. The 'other' guy realizes that he never really loved her anyway but someone else (e.g. Twilight)
4.  The 'other' guy realizes he can live with it because he didn't love her enough.
5. The 'other' guy gets villianized.

I find it hard to say what works without a context but arguably my favorite scenario is when the the main character goes out with (loves) one guy but they break apart for a good reason. Then the main realizes how great the other guy was, or realizes the other guy loves her.

I don't like when the main character chooses one guy because of 'true love' instead of how the guy treats her and those around them. I also don't like when the author makes the love triangle the entire story, or when the author patches the situation quickly at the end (it's a series, use your time wisely).

My current favorite series with a love triangle:

  • Carolyn Crane - The Disillusionist Trilogy

Where do you stand on love triangles... love or hate?
  • Which books did you love and which did you hate? 
  • What type of scenarios do you hate vs. love? 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Urban fantasy challenge 2010

I signed up for the Urban Fantasy reading challenge given by Dark Faerie Tales today.

This challenge consists of reviewing 15 debut books by December 2010 from a specified selection.

I think it will be unlikely that I'll get all 15 completed in time but it should be fun to give it a go!

Here is a link to the post:

Urban Fantasy reading challenge 2010

Jennifer Rardin - Bitten in Two - Jaz Parks book 7

*Jennifer Rardin R.I.P*

Book Description

Jaz Parks here. I. Am. Pissed. Just as Vayl and I arrive in Morocco to secure an ancient artifact, he wakes up calling me by another woman's name. And it's not even a good one. But since any form of argument transforms him into an unholy terror, I'm forced to play along until the gang and I can figure out what kind of power has so vastly altered his perceptions.

So it's time for me to do what any well-trained assassin in my position might do. I attack. What follows is a hair-raising, breath-taking bullet train ride to the finish as the crew battles on multiple fronts. I now know what I have to do - I must return to hell one last time.


This book left me feeling conflicted with a love-hate relationship towards it. I liked it. In some cases I really liked it but in others I found it hard to read and it left me wanting to put it down. The first part of the story was intriguing with Vayl thinking he was living in the past but it was not well introduced into the story. The reader joined the plot-line after it had already been happening for three days. This felt like I was missing something and I had to catch up. It also felt like a pointless distraction from the main plot-line (which was searching for the Rocenz). I would have enjoyed it more if the two story lines had crossed over to a larger extent.

The story had memorable moments between Vayl and Jazz, edge of your seat tension and funny interludes. What I found difficult to stomach was the relationship between Cole and Kyphas, the demon. Cole has always been a favorite of mine and every time there was a scene where it seemed like he could really care for her made me cringe. In addition, the hints placed in the storyline suggesting that someone will come along for Cole romantically in the future, combined with the ending, made the next book a little predictable for my liking.

All in all, I think I can safely say that many fans of the Jaz Parks series will not be disappointed in this recent addition. The story was well written and designed to captivate many a reader. A lot of my dislike towards the book was unfairly based around my personal soft spot for Cole and my disappointment in his attraction to Kyphas. The concept that there was something good in her was a little weak; as if that should be enough to allow for a connection with a demon that had tried to kill a friend.

My rating out of 5

Thursday, November 11, 2010

All Things Urban Fantasy: Cover Art Coverage: 11 new titles!

All Things Urban Fantasy: Cover Art Coverage: 11 new titles!: "*Cover Art may not be final* Click author names to visit their webpages & click titles to pre-order from The Book Depository or Goodreads i..."

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Book Description

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


I loved this book! I finished Nightshade in a single sitting despite the large 528 pages. Once you read the first chapter you will be hooked.

Young Adult books in this genre are becoming increasingly common but this is a truly standout addition. The NIGHTSHADE world is unique and detailed, with a cast of characters that bounce off the page. I'm a big fan of love triangles and the love triangle between Calla, Shay and Ren is brilliantly done with the author giving us different things to love about both Shay and Ren. I had a hard time choosing which character I want Calla to end up with and this made the story that much more engrossing. NIGHTSHADE has more sexually detailed themes than most young adult series but it's interwoven into the storyline so that it makes sense. In saying this, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under 16 years old.

Andrea Cremer has excelled at writing a detailed history of the NIGHTSHADE world without giving it to the reader in large doses. The progressively given information is used to support the mysterious storyline as well as explaining aspects of Calla's connections to the other characters.

The story itself will have you guessing right up to the last page and desperately waiting for the next installment after reading the cliffhanger ending. You can't tell that this is Cremer's debut. It's better written than many successful authors. I can't recommend this book enough.

My rating out or 5