Wednesday, March 29, 2017

City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare

Hey all! 

For a while now I've been talking about how much I've been wanting to re-read all of the Shadowhunter books. I figured that since Lord of Shadows is coming out in May, now would be a good time to read them! 

Of course, I've been quite slow with this so far - the past three weeks have been very stressful, but now that exams are done, I have a week and a half off during which I can just read and watch series all day every day. 

I decided to do some kind of Shadowhunters marathon! On Instagram, you can follow it with #justanothershadowmarathon, or you can follow it on my blog :) I'd love it if you participated in it with me! You don't have to read all of the books, of course - maybe just have a post about Cassandra Clare's books or have a ranking of your favorite characters - it's totally up to you! 

Additionally, if you guys know about any Shadowhunter tags or anything, please let me know! I'd love to participate in them! 

Without further ado, let's get into my review of the book that started it all - City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare. 

There are so many different covers in
different countries but I have this one
so this is the edition I'll be using :) 
"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..."

OK! So how to start? 
Basically this book starts off with Clary witnessing a murder in an all-ages club with her friend, Simon. The problem is that she is the only one who sees it - and the murderers did not expect her to see it. 
Clary is a Shadowhunter - a half-angel, half-human who has had her identity hidden from her since she was a child. In City of Bones, she learns about what being a shadowhunter is, and gets to know the New York Shadowhunters, as well as about the hidden war that has been held in a pause for fifteen years. 

This series' villain is Valentine - his goal is basically to rid the world of demons and anything related to them, by creating more shadowhunters, which he believes to be a dying breed. For this, he needs the Mortal Cup, which has been lost for years. 
Aside from a ton of information dumps that exhibits the story and the world we will be encountered with in the next 10+ books, this book is incredibly character driven, which I always love! Even though the info dumps were a bit dense at times, the character relations. and opposing personalities really kept me going in this story. 

Clary isn't my favorite - she's quick at making (usually bad) decisions, but always does it out of loyalty to her friends and family or to herself. She makes the worst decisions at times, but you have to take into account that up until now she has never heard of this huge world. I really hope that she will mature as a character and be less impulsive when it comes to big decisions that could get her killed unless someone else is there with her. 

Jace could also be better in this book - for now he's quite arrogant and self-involved - so much so that (highlight) he doesn't notice that his own parabati and best friend, Alec, is in love with him, which is something Clary figured out almost right away. He is the best shadowhunter of his age and is fully aware of it. 

Simon is absolutely amazing! He is quirky and nerdy and adorable. He is in love with Clary, his friend since childhood, but they have the absolute best friendship. I think he's super underrated in this series - everyone loves Jace and Alec, but what about Simon? He is incredibly clumsy yet loyal to Clary to the end. 

Isabel and Alec are the Lightwood siblings, and in my opinion there really isn't enough of them in the books! Alec is very angsty - you see him hating on Clary a lot, but he's hiding a huge secret that could destroy his reputaiton and respect in his family. Isabel is cool and confident and knows she's amazing but isn't obnoxious about it. 

Magnus *glitter glitter* Bane (I saw that on a pic a few days ago and laughed way too much xD) is so, so cool. He's the High Warlock of Brooklyn and has this huge social status to keep up with, and flamboyant personality and cat eyes. I really like Magnus and I can't wait to read more about him! 

There are so many more side characters, but each are amazing in their own way. 

The world that Cassandra Clare built is absolutely amazing - this is just book one and it's huge. You have four divisions of sociaty - Mundanes, who have no idea the Shadow World exists, Shadowhunters and Silent Brothers, angels - which may or may not really exist, - Downworlders and demons. Each of these levels interact either directly or indirectly, have some kind of heiarchy, and each have their own complex history. 

Spoilers from here on! Highlight to see them! 

- Madam Dorothea's transformation/possession was so crazy, but made for the best fight scene! 
- Ok. I know what happens after these books, but it was still kind of heartbreaking to find out that Jace and Clary are brother and sister. And the fact that Valentine is their dad is actually really cool! 
- The end battle was epic but I feel like Valentine disappeared with the cup way too easily...

That's it for this review! I'm giving City of Bones a 4/5 feathers! I really hope that some characters develop for the better, that we get more from the side characters and that we will explore the world just a bit more :) 

Of course I've read the books before but I'm pretending I haven't ^-^ 

Have you read City of Bones? What did you think of it? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bookish Talks ~11~ The Perks of being a Booklover

Hey all! 

I know I just wrote one of these, but I have a lot of things to talk to you guys about! 

Nox To Lumos Candle Co
If you read my last bookish talk, you'll have read that I was chosen to be a rep for the Nox to Lumos Candle Co! I received my rep package today and I'm so, so excited to share it with you!

Look at how pretty they are! :D 
Ok so let's go through one by one. 

The first one is based on the Bone Witch - I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but I'm planning on picking it up eventually. The label says 'Black Currant, Tea, and Driftwood', and the candle is black, white, purple and glittery! This might be one of my favorites of the pack - it's both subtle and soft but has that current background that is so, so nice! 

The second one - Caraval - is an awesome black, red and white. I haven't read this either, which I am ashamed of, but I'm hoping to get to it soon! It says that it smells like roses and magic. This candle does smell stronger, but whereas the smell of roses usually puts me off, the other scent, 'magic', seems to balance it well, even though I can't put a name to what it smells like! It's almost maybe hazelnut? Anyway, I like it! 

Then we get to everyone's favorite warrior prince - Rowan! I love Rowan from the Throne of Glass series so much, and having his candle is so awesome! It says it smells like pine, snow, and a hint of vanilla. The vanilla is a tiny bit overpowering on the snow and pine but I think it will be blended perfectly once I start burning it! Might just be because there's a whole white layer on top of a green layer ^-^ 

Next is the Night Court. Two candles based on queen Sarah J Maas! Yas! This candle is perfect for me - it looks like the universe - it has a black background, with white, pink and purple and glitter. It's supposed to smell like Honeysuckle Jasmine, Orange, and Sea Breeze and I love it! The smell is so incredibly fresh and for some reason reminds me of when I lived in Italy! 

Last but not least is Queen of Hearts, that is a pretty red and white and smells like Pumpkin Spice Cake! This candle smells like thanksgiving dessert - I would totally eat it if I could! Not sure how much I'll be able to burn this one, though - someone in my family can't stand pumpkin, but if that's your thing, I would highly recommend it! It's making me crave pumpkin pie like you have no idea xD

Thank you so much to Nox to Lumos Candle Co for sending me these! I can't wait to start burning them! Make sure to go check out the Etsy store by clicking here!

The Harry Potter exposition, NL! 
Last Bookish Talk, I told you guys that I was going to the Harry Potter exposition there is now in Utrecht, in the Netherlands. I went on Wednesday and it was so much fun! :D 

The exhibition had so many parts and was covered in the most amazing detail! You had the common room, the Great Hall, the forbidden forest, even the 'dark' area with all of the Horcruxes and that 'death' statue in the cemetery in the 4th movie! I loved every minute of it! And look at the displays! o.o

What House are you? I'm a True Blue Ravenclaw! 

Needless to say, these are only a fraction of the pictures I took, and I loved every minute of the exhibit! They put such amazing details everywhere, and it brought out all of the most amazing feels! There was a little Dobby that got me really emotional, more than I thought it would! 

When I mentioned my upcoming trips, I mentioned the one to Nijmegen, and my friend Erika @ Books, stars and the Pages in between asked me to say how all of my trips went, so here's a little about that trip as well! 

I've been looking into doing my master's degree there for a while but had never been. Since I found the degree, one of my friends, who is from there, has been offering to show me around for a day. We found a day we could go and realized it was the university's open day! I went to the open day and found the BEST master's program - I could study chemistry and astronomy as one degree! I met up with my friend afterward, and he showed me around all the little corners of his town, it was so nice! ^^

To make it bookish, we did see an antique book sale, but it was all in Dutch =P Such a nice town, though! 

I have a new ARC! 
The amazing Kensington Books Publishing sent me an ARC of Pintip Dunn's upcoming book - Girl on the Verge! Make sure to add it to your Goodreads' list! I can't wait to get to it and I can't believe that they sent me a copy without me asking! :D Made my day! 

Anyway, that's it for today! I have a huge paper for Sunday and two exams on Tuesday - it's a lot of stress but hopefully, it'll be fine ^^ 

Have a great weekend! 

Stay bookish, 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi

Hey all! 

I just finished reading Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi! (Mild spoilers ahead)

"Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland — known as The Death Shop — are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent energy storms will. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild — a savage — and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must come together to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky."

To be honest, this is a re-read for me. I read it several years ago, I think when I was 14 but decided to pick it up again because I'll be meeting Veronica Rossi here in April! 

It's hard for me to review this book. If you guys have been following my blog for a while, you know how much I adore characters, sometimes even more than plot. 

Under the Never Sky had an amazing plot but was lacking on the character side of things. 

This dystopian/sci-fi debut is about our two main characters, Aria and Peregrine. Aria is a 'Dweller' - she is a part of a selected few who were chosen to live in some sort of underground bunkers to save humanity from the Outside. This world is very futuristic and is riddled with Aether storms, which to me sounded like lightning tornados. Since these are so dangerous, a part of humanity was put in enclosed cities, where they basically live in a video game - they have eyepieces that let them travel do virtual worlds. Aria was banished from Reverie because of her friend and is left on the Outside. 

Peregrine (Perry) is an Outsider who is trying to find his Nephew. He has a really weird sense of smell that lets him smell emotions and how people are feeling at any given time. He also has night vision and is a good hunter. The smelling thing was really strange for me to get used to, but it was a creative idea, so why not? 

My problem is that I'm having a hard time describing what they were like. They both despised each other at first, more than any two characters I've seen. They were both so rough and annoying and stubborn. Suddenly, they both realize that the other isn't as awful as they thought, and they fall for each other almost too quickly. 

Now one character I did really like is Roar. This guy has a really intriguing backstory and a fun, snarky personality. I really want to know what happened between him and Liv, and why Perry is so against their relation. 

Now for the good part: the worldbuilding. There is this huge contrast between the Dweller world and the Outside world. The Dwellers live in this very futuristic society with virtual reality, advanced science, prolonged life, no disease, etc. On the other hand, the Outsiders live in an almost primitive way, with hunting and fighting to become the Blood Lord. They have animalistic senses and have virtually no problem living in the wild. And the two societies hate each other. 

I think it would be nice to have more of a backstory about what happened to separate these people, why they hate each other, and even about our main character's past. In that sense, this book flet more like the sencond book in a series, or as if it was missing a few chapters in the beginning. 

The good thing was that it was fast paced, had a great world built around it, but I think could have been drawn out a little bit more. 

I'm giving this book a 3/5 feathers. It was an enjoyable read overall! 
Have you read Under the Never Sky? What did you think about it? Let me know! 

Have a great day! 

Stay bookish, 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bookish Talks ~10~ Just a lot of rambling

Hey all! 

I figured it's been a while since I posted, and I have a ton to tell you guys! So, even though it's late at night and I just finished binge-studying about rocket science (literally), I decided to make another bookish talk! 

1. I became a rep! 
Every blogger's and instagrammer's dream is to become a company rep for bookish items! It looks so nice to be able to connect with shop owners and maybe inspire them to make new products. I mean, I won't say no to bookish goodies either! ^-^ 

I was recently chosen to rep for not one, but TWO small shops! Make sure to check them out on Etsy! (Links will be on their names!)

Nox to Lumos Candle Co - This is a candle shop that's still making a name for itself, and is still adding products to the shelves! They have a big variety of bookish candles that sound amazing! There will soon be the other Hogwarts houses PLUS they're making a candle that I invented - the Reading Nook! It will smell like parchment, vanilla, rainwater and tea, and I absolutely cannot wait to receive it! And, true to my blog, it will be white and purple! I would DIE if one of you guys ordered it and told me what you thought of it! <3 

The Paper Charm Shop - This little shop sells 100% hand-drawn bookmarks and other goodies, and it's adorable!! The shop owner, Lily, is the sweetest and is super enthusiastic about her start-up! I'm completely psyched about getting her box sometime soon as well! <3

2. I caved...
I've been trying to save up for a few upcoming trips (which I'll explain later below!), and yet I (somehow, it must have been magic) caved in and placed a Bookoutlet order. 5 books... I'll make sure to haul them for you guys! 

3. So many (bookish) trips! 
My next two months will be full of bookish trips! I'll have a blog post about each, of course! 

Last Saturday, my trip wasn't exactly book-related, but I visited a university a few hours from where I live and found a master's degree in molecular chemistry that looks awesome! I also have a friend who's from the area, and, as I'd never been to that city, he showed me around. Instead of books, I bought music. 

In a few weeks, I'll be going to the Harry Potter movie exhibition in Utrecht! This exhibition goes around the world and I'm so excited that it's so close to where I live! It'll have everything they used in the movies, as well as interactive expositions (and a gift shop where I can finally stock up on more Harry Potter goodness! I just recently got a Ravenclaw laptop sticker and I just love it ^^ Oh maybe I'll find a new Funko too!)

Then, I'll be going to YALFest.NL with the rest of the group of YA bloggers that work at the Young Adult Dome! This will be my first book panel, and I'm super excited about it, even though it'll mostly be in Dutch... I mean most of the authors speak English so if I can meet even just one that would be amazing! 

After that, I'll be going to London for the first time with my younger cousin who just turned 18! We planned this whole Harry Potter tour - we'll be going to the studios, but also to a few places where they filmed. I'm also hoping to see some other bookish London locations - notably from The Infernal Devices ^-^ 

And all that by the end of April! Plus exams and everything... This should be fun! 

4. Current read
I'm currently trying to plow through Empire of Storms, by Sarah J Maas. I'm really enjoying it, but the book is huge! And the bible-thick pages are not helping much. Hopefully, after that, I'll get to re-reading the Shadowhunters set! 

That's it from my part today! I hope you guys are having a good week so far :) 

Stay bookish, 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J Maas

Hm... This is going to be very, very long...

Hey all! 
I just finished reading Queen of Shadows, by Sarah J Maas! 

These books keep getting better and better! I rated the first one 5 stars and I keep rating the following ones 5 stars even though I like them better! Series like this one need a whole new rating system! 

I will have my non-spoilery part here because there's not much to say without spoiling the amazingness that is Queen of Shadows. There's SO MUCH that happened!! 

First of all, if you haven't picked up the Throne of Glass series yet, what are you doing? Stop, go to the nearest bookstore, pick up a copy, sit down and read it. To be honest, I totally understand if the first book (or two) didn't impress you so much, but trust me when I say it only gets better! After finishing this book, it's incredible to think that it started with 'just' Throne of Glass! 

 I have reviews for all of the other books! Click on each of the titles to see my thoughts! 
Throne of Glass
Crown of Midnight
Heir of Fire

And now, time for Queen of Shadows! 

*Spoilers start here! Don't say I didn't warn you!*

"No Masters.
No Limits.
No Regrets.

Celaena Sardothien is cloaked in her assassin's hood once more. She is back in Rifthold, but this time she is no one's slave. She must delve into her most painful memories and fight for her survival, while resisting a smoldering passion that might very well consume her heart. And she will face her former master, the King of Assassins, again - to wreck revenge for a decade of pain..."
Okay... Here we go with a whole bunch of possibly confusing bits of a book review! 

If you guys have already read my previous reviews, you know that I think that Sarah J Maas is a writing queen! Her characters and words are amazing, and that plot is so, so well thought-out! Like I said above, it's so strange to think that this started off with Throne of Glass! The amount of evolution that happened is insane! 

First, Celaena basically doesn't exist anymore. She is Aelin. She is a queen. That's it, and people accept it. You can really tell that she fully accepted it and put her mask of Celaena behind her. And she is more awesome than ever before! 

Also, the Chaol/Celaena ship has sunk. It's the Titanic. Their separation was the iceberg and now they don't particularly care about each other. I thought this was somewhat strange as in the end of Crown of Midnight they're so close and forgiving! But Aelin evolved a lot, and I think Chaol could feel that. In this book, Chaol was unwaveringly loyal to Dorian, whereas Aelin considered murdering him. 

Can we talk about the Dorian chapters?! The heartbreak felt in each one, where the prince we all love is taken over by the Vlag prince and you just know he's right there, was incredible. But it was SO cool when he found himself again at the end of the book and managed to break the collar off his neck, just by hearing that Chaol could be dead. They would be parabati, I'm sure of it! 

Actually, the whole ending was epic on new proportions! When Rowan and Aedion started fighting together against the Wyrdhounds, and Lyssandra just came in as a Ghost Leopard to save them! When Aelin and Dorian held hands and combined their magic to make the glass castle shatter! When we thought Chaol was dead (which I was actually ok with, strangely), but he wasn't! I mean he's still paralyzed, but he's alive! 

And that fight between Manon and Aelin! They're both so awesome! I love how, after Aelin saved her life, Manon took the time to tell Aelin that Dorian was still himself, even under the influence of a Vlag prince! I kind of hope they'll end up being friends, actually! 

But HEY WAIT! Is there a Manon and Dorian ship going on..? Is that going to be a thing? I feel like it's going to be a thing, and I think I might actually like that?! 

About Manon, I FINALLY got used to liking her parts! I didn't like reading her sections in Heir of Fire - I felt like they got in the way of the amazing plot going on with our main squad. But now we're starting to see Manon evolve - wait for it - feelings. It's so funny to see how she has no idea how to handle them! 

We get a new character in this book called Elide. She's a witch that Manon takes under her wing (broom? Wyvern? idek) who goes through all kinds of emotional moments. Now she's looking for Aelin - her queen, as she's from Terassen - and Celaena, having no idea they're the same person. I can't wait to see how that plays out! 

Back to ships! Rowan is such a nice character! In HoF he was holding back a lot, and quiet, but now he's really starting to gain confidence. He comes back to Aelin and, even though their relationship in HoF was very platonic, they slowly start flirting and realizing that they both like each other and having cute little moments without anything happening and I just ship them ok? My Celaena/Dorian ship is so gone! (But there are so many theories about Dorian being endgame, but that either means that Rowan would have to do something awful or die, and I'm not ready for any of that. Please keep Rowan alive, Sarah!) 

I loved the snippets with Aedion - in HoF he tried so hard to be this warrior type but here he's almost like a loyal, fangirling puppy. He's so happy to find Aelin when she rescues him, and the two cousins are just so happy together! When she tells him about Rowan, he becomes a total fangirl, knowing all of his stories and battles. When he meets Rowan, though, there's the smallest competition about who gets to be Aelin's right-hand. Also, can we just maybe suggest Lyssandra and Aedion? I'm just saying! ^-^ 

My favorite part was probably when Aelin goes around town with Rowan and they find the old opera house, where she plays the piano and gets him all emotional. That part was just adorable. 

But the part that broke me the most might be different than most other people's. When she went to Sam's grave... I cried. I know there's Assassins' Blade to read, but I want to know more about Sam! 

OH! That one part where Aborynn ( a horrible guy by the way) puts the ring on Aelin's finger and drinks her blood and we think that he's under his control is so awful! It was such a relief that it was all a trick! 

And when Lyssandra kills Aborynn and Aelin had switched his will around to receive everything he owned, then sold it all to give the money to Chaol was awesome! The crazy thing is that we are 100% spectators to Aelin - we almost never know what she's planning! 

I think I'm going to end my review here - It got so long! Congrats if you made it to this point, hahaha! 

I'm giving this a 5/5 feathers! The epicness was amazing and I can't wait to dive into book 5! 

Have you read Queen of Shadows? What did you think of it? Let me know! :D 

Have a great day! 
Stay bookish!