Thursday, 26 June 2014

Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 725 pages
Released: May 27 2014
Publisher: Simon + Schuster
Favourite Quote: “We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”
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Goodreads Synopsis:
'In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

My Review
I feel so accomplished right now. That book was massive. And I finished it in a month at a time when I had quite a few assignments and exams. I should win an award. I had dedication, haha.

I can't believe this series is coming to an end. It feels like forever ago that I picked up the first book and overtook my friends. They were about half way into book 2 when I started reading book 1 and I overtook them and read all the books that were released at the time (I think it was up to book 5). Gosh, that seems like a lifetime ago. 

CoHF was an enjoyable read. Going into this, I was wondering if Cassandra Clare would be able to keep me entertained for 700+ pages. And she did (well, most of them anyway). The storyline was very entertaining. There were a few surprises that I didn't expect to happen. And that one that happened right at the end. That was a COMPLETE shock. I'm still processing that one.

The writing was ok. The storyline was in third person, which I don't have a problem with. However, what annoyed me was the frequent changes of perspectives throughout the book. I felt like every 5 pages, I was reading from someone else's view point. I would just be getting used to reading it from, say Clary's view, and them bam. We have changed viewpoints to Maia or Alec or something. I understand the change of perspective, I just didn't enjoy how often it occurred. That being said, I was able to keep track of where I was reading from when it happened. It wasn't one of those books where I kept getting confused between all the different viewpoints (like in Allegiant) so that was good. That helped to make it easier to read. 

Another problem I had was my inability to 'binge-read' (is that even a term?). In many other books, I am able to read chapter after chapter very easily. I didn't get tired and I would have to tell myself that I needed to stop reading and go to bed. However with CoHF, I was unable to do that. I could not read more than 1 chapter in one sitting. And sometimes I even wanted to stop half way through a chapter. It was because it was very tiresome, for me, to read. I'm not sure if it was the writing style or the high use of descriptive language but I was very upset by it. Some nights, I would not even be tired enough to go to bed, but reading the book made me tired. And a lot of the time, it wasn't even because it was boring. I wanted to find out what happened next, but just didn't have the energy to read it.

My favourite part of the novel would have to be the Infernal Devices crossover. I love the Infernal Devices. I love Will, Tessa and Jem. Honestly, that is one of my favourite series and one of the big reasons why I chose to read CoHF (I was always going to read it, I just read it earlier that I planned) was because I knew that Tessa and a certain someone was going to be in it. I even full fangirled whenever Tessa's name was mentioned (and that happened quite a bit). I loved the role she had in the last part of the book. She wasn't in it a lot, but enough that she had an impact on both Clary and Jace's life. The gifts she gave was so generous of her and I know that it would have been hard for her to do. (ok, I sense that my inner fangirl is coming out. I should stop talking about them)

4 out of 5 Stars 

Spoiler Section
As this is the last book in the series, I thought that I would go more into the storyline. But to do that means that I am going to spoiler some things. Therefore, if you have not read CoHF, don't read, unless you want to be spoiled.
Let me start with my fustration over the Clave. You do not accuse someone of being untrustworthy just because they have a tad bit of fairy blood in them. Last time I checked, Helen did nothing wrong in the Dark War. She stayed, fought and looked after her family. She did not leak out information to the Seelie Court or do anything that would make her to appear as untrustworthy. And how could you just not go and at least try to save Mark? Really? Just because he has fairy blood in him? Gosh, that whole scene was so fustrating to read. All the characters were so annoying. You don't just go against your people like that. 

I really loved Simon in the novel. How he was so willing to save his friends even if it meant that he may not remember them again. That was such a very noble and brave thing for him to do. I liked the idea of Simon becoming a mundane again. It made sense. He started off as a mundane and ended as one. I wasn't too pleased with the idea that he would become a Shadowhunter. It felt wrong to me. All through the book, he was always the third wheel, either by being a mundane or vampire. And to make him a Shadowhunter meant that he was officially no longer a third wheel. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy now that Simon will start to remember Clary and the rest of the gang and will no longer be left out of everything, but it just felt wrong. I would have preferred if Simon ended up a mundane with his memories. That would have been better. 

Sebastian. How much I hated him. He should have died in the last book. Anyway, the one thing I did liked about him was that he did love his sister (even though he should stay the hell away from her). All he wanted was for someone to stand beside him and be with him. Clary was basically the only person he loved a bit. That was actually quite sad. How Valentine taught him so little about love and therefore Sebastian didn't actually know what love was. Anyway, I thought he died very suddenly. I was expecting this epic battle to the death type of thing but that didn't happen. I'm actually happy that it didn't. I loved how Clary out smarted him and defeated him in the end. That was nice - it showed that good always won, even without a war.

There were so many funny scenes in the novel. I love how, out of nowhere, this hilarious scene would just pop up or someone would say something really funny. Like when Simon asked 'Should I change my Facebook status to 'it's complicated' to 'in a relationship'' and Isabelle replied 'You have a book that's also a face?'. OMG, I cracked up laughing. Or when Alec kept walking in on Simon and Isabelle. Gosh, that was funny.

Overall, it was a great conclusion to a long series. I can see where her other spin off The Dark Artifices is going to go. I'm still not sure when I will read it, but I will definitely read it at some point.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book Covers I Like/Dislike

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks topic is Ten Book Cover I Like and Dislike.

Let's start of with the covers I don't like. I hate it when they have this massive picture of a head on their cover. Like this

Or when it looks as though two people are about the make out with each other. Especially on a YA novel. It makes it look as though it's this steamy romance novel written for much older people.

However, I do like covers that make some reference to the novel. Like the Divergent ones.

And the ones that look so clean. They are simple and are not throwing 101 things in my face

I also love the covers with girls in pretty dresses

 And I don't really mind the ones that do have people on it. As long as it isn't a massive picture of her head, it's all good

That's it for this weeks meme. I do also want to point out that I do love the Vampire Academy books. I feel as though I have picked on them the most. I just don't like their covers :)

Leave a comment on what your favourite covers are. See you all next week

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books On My Winter TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks theme is Top 10 Books on My Winter To Be Read List. The meme is actually titled Top 10 Books on my Summer TBR List, but living in Australia means that we don't get summer until the end of the year. So I'm changing it to winter. This list wasn't too hard to come up with as I have sort of already planned what I am going to be reading next. I hope I can get through most of these but I don't think that will happen as I have lots of exams in the next few months. But anyway, here is what I hope to read this winter

That's it for this weeks meme. Let me know what books you plan to read this season in the comments.

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Saturday, 14 June 2014

REVIEW: What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan
My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Pages: 65
Favourite Quote: “Magnus, you were trying to flirt with your own plate." "I'm a very open-minded sort of fellow!"
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Goodreads Synopsis:
'Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines.

This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. This story in The Bane Chronicles, What Really Happened in Peru, is written by Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare.'

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I've Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks theme is Top 10 Books I've Read So Far This Year. As this year, I have only read 14 books (damn you school), I have decided to change it The Top 10 Books I've Read Within The Past Year as I read a large amount of books towards the second half of last year. So my Top 10 will include books read from June 2013-June 2014.

The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay are two of my favourite books of all time. I loved how in TFiOS, the main character Hazel was so relateable. Her obsession with reality shows was so hilarious (like ensuring that the marathon of America's Next Top Model was set to record before she goes to support group) and Augustus was just the perfect boyfriend. I am still recovering from seeing the movie. It stayed so true to the book. If I Stay was just as heart wrenching as TFiOS. Mia's decision whether to stay or let go and leave the world forever was so sad. It made me question what I would do if I were in her situation. And Gayle's ability to interweave the past into the story. She just did it so well. At times I forgot that just a second ago I was reading from the perspective of Mia at the hospital. I loved learning about Mia's life and the role her family and Adam played in it.

Vampire Academy, Divergent and The Hunger Games were all major highlights within the past year. Divergent started my love for reading. Honestly, if it weren't for that book, I don't think I would enjoy reading as much. That book not only taught me important lessons such as to be brave but it also showed me that there were some really good books out there. I had just been reading the wrong ones for a long time. The Hunger Games series was so fast paced and really had me on the edge of my seat. Especially the last one Mockingjay. I know a lot of people had a lot of issues with it, but for me it was a great conclusion to the series. There were some things at the end that I would like to change such as going into more details about what happened to all of the characters after the events of THG, but I still really enjoyed it. Vampire Academy was surprisingly enjoyable. I didn't think that I would enjoy it as much as I did. I loved the forbidden romance between Rose and Dimitri. But what I loved the most of it was that the stories main focus wasn't just on that. The main focus was the relationship between Rose and Lissa. It was so refreshing to see that the two main characters were two best friends and not two romantic interests.

This is one of my favourite Cassandra Clare novels to date. I loved Clockwork Princess. I loved Will and Jem and Tessa. Honestly, I think the main reason I am enjoying City of Heavenly Fire so much is that Tessa and a specific someone is in it. I full have a fangirl moment whenever I see them in the book

Delirium was another great read. The thought that love being viewed as a disease was very interesting to me cause I thought 'How could that happen? How could you not love your kids and family?'. I also loved the writing. Lauren Oliver had so many beautiful lines about love in that book and a lot of them are still with me today. What Alice Forgot is not classified as 'Young Adult' but it was a very good read. It was scary thinking how you could one day not remember anything of the last 20 or so years. It taught me to not take things for granted as in a moment it could all be taken away from you. This book will stay with me for a long time. 

These two books were very surprising reads for me. I had to read these books for school and had low expectations as I never enjoyed the books my school had told me to read. However these were different. I loved Jane Yolen's ability to connect the story of Sleeping Beauty with the horrific events of the Holocaust. She did it very beautifully and really made me want to know more about the Holocaust which was a very big surprise as I am not a very big history person. Looking for Alibrandi was very relatable to me. I loved reading about an Italian's girl experience growing up in Australia. It was something that was really familiar to me considering that I am both Italian and Australian.

 Let me know what your favourite books from the past year was. I'm always keen on adding to my never ending pile of to be read books

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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars

I have finally seen The Fault in Our Stars movie. Hooray!! I have been waiting for this movie for so long, I thought that it would never come. The trailers were fantastic and then the TV Spots that showed up online really made me want to watch the movie so bad. And the soundtrack. I don't think I have very loved a movie soundtrack as much as this one. My favourite song currently is on that soundtrack and hearing it in the movie was the icing on the cake.

Let's start of with its faithfulness to the book. It was AWESOME. It feels so great knowing that they actually read the book before attempting to make the movie. I hate it when a movie adaptation takes maybe three important scenes from the book and then links all those together in some weird way that is no way similar to the book. It's like did you even read it? This was different. It was very obvious that they read and studied the book. There was lines directly from the novel and said exactly the same time as when they were said in the novel. And I'm not talking only maybe a few lines from the novel - I'm talking a lot of lines. Yes, some parts of the film were changed or altered a different way however majority of the script felt like it was from the book. From Gus' classic one lines such as 'I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up' to the letter at the end that Hazel reads (I don't want to say who from just in case you haven't read the novel. But those who have should know), it was all directly taken from the novel. I cried in exactly the same spots as I did in the novel and that was surprising to me. Although I didn't cry as much as I did in the book, I did still cry. I think it was because I was already prepared for what was to happen so nothing was a shock to me. It was very funny hearing my whole cinema sniffling towards the end and laughing at the same points.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be In My Beach Bag

Hi Everyone,
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the topic is Top 10 Books That Should Will Be In My Beach Bag. As living in Australia means that we don't get Summer until the end of the year, I am going to change it to 'Top 10 Books That I Will Read This Winter'

Although according to my Goodreads, I have 60+ books marked as 'to-read', these are the ones that I do hope to have read within the next few months. I am a bit of a slow reader due to school reasons (sadly) so unfortunately I don't think I will get to all of these. But anyway, here is my Top 10 books!

City of Heavenly Fire

I definitely plan to finish reading this book. At the moment, I'm only in the beginning of the book. However I am already starting to become addicted to reading it to find out what happens. Who dies? Who survives? Will Sebastian finally die? Gosh, I just need to know now!

The Elite (The Selection #2)

It has been really hard putting this on hold to read City of Heavenly Fire. I have just recently read The Selection and I loved it. But more specifically, I loved Maxon. However as City of Heavenly was just about to come out, I decided to put this series on hold until COHF was finished. And it has been hard. Really hard. I need to see Maxon. Can you tell how much I love Maxon? He better not ruin it in this book. I actually own the book and it's just sitting on my bookself, waiting to be read. All that aside, The Elite will defiantly be in my winter pile to be read within the coming month and is high on my anticipation list.

Anna and the French Kiss

A friend of mine recently recommended me to read it. Although I had already marked it as 'to-read' on Goodreads, I wasn't particularly planning on reading it anytime soon. However, my desire to read it has increased and I think it'll be sometime soon
Before I Fall
I absolutely adore Lauren Oliver's books. I love her writing style and her stories. I have read both the Delirium Series and Panic and now I want to read the other book by her. I think this will be a good book to read on my bed in the middle of winter as it is a contemporary novel. And the synopsis of the novel looks promising as well

The Darkest Minds

I got this book and its sequel for Christmas last year and had planned to read it in the Christmas holidays. However that didn't happen and I have always been side tracked by other books since. At the moment, I've been kinda in the mood for contemporaries and romances after reading stacks of dystopians. However, when it does come time for me to get back into dystopians, this book will be the first to be read. I'm definitely starting to miss the whole action aspect of dystopian novels and I think it'll not be too long until I finally read it

The Maze Runner

I wasn't particularly planning on reading this book but after watching the trailer, I think I must. The trailer looked so epic and it has since compelled to want to read it. I hope to have it read before the movie hits theaters in August (I think it's August) but either way, I'll be reading it before I watch the movie

Just One Day

A few week ago, I read 'If I Stay' by Gayle Forman and it quickly became one of my favourite book, especially its sequel 'Where She Went'. I am curious to read 'Just One Day' to see if it can live up to the high standards of 'If I Stay' and if it will also become a new favourite of mine.

The Book Thief

I have heard so many good things about this book. A friend has told me that I must read it and so I bought it. However, I haven't read it yet. The Book Thief is a book that I plan to read in the near future before I even watch the movie
Time Between Us

This book looks so interesting! Time Travel. Forbidden Love. How could I not pass that up? I'm a real sucker for romance.

Obsidian (Lux Series #1)

A friend of mine has recently recommend me read it and has assured me that it is very good. I've heard a lot of good things from this novel. Apparently it reminds people of Twilight. Either way, it's another romance book that I must read

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