Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Bookish Playlist: The Dark Artifices

As you may know Lady Midnight has pretty much taken over my life so it comes as no surprise that I've been cultivating numerous playlists to coincide with this marvelous book. I actually have been writing down these songs before I even read the book and as I went along made gradual changes and added in some new songs. Which I prefer than just creating a playlist at the end. So far I've made a playlist for Cristina, Mark, and one for Emma and Julian. I'll definitely be creating more once more books release and when I reread and spontaneously feel like concocting a new playlist. My 8tracks Dark Artifices collection can be found here.


Genre: indie/alternative/electric
Main Influences: Aurora, Regina Spektor, Isobel Anderson

❝ no one is ever the villain of their own story. ❞
I knew once we were introduced to Cristina Rosales that I was going to want to make a playlist about her. I went on 8tracks to see if anyone had made one about her for reference, but I didn't find any. For this playlist I wanted to stick mainly to female artists because usually when I create indie playlists the artists/bands are a majority male. Pretty proud that this playlist only has two males artists in it. I wanted to use vocals of all my favorite female indie/alternative singers and listening to this playlist there is a great variety of vocals. I wanted Cristina's playlist to be a mixture of soft calming vocals, but with chilling and haunting chorus'. You can listen here.


  1. Runaway // AURORA
  2. She Used To Be Mine // Sara Bareilles
  3. Earth // Sleeping At Last
  4. The Disappearance of the Girl // Phidel
  5. Rest Your Head // Bat For Lashes
  6. Can We Go There Again? // Isobel Anderson
  7. Hiding // Florence + the Machine
  8. Fidelity // Regina Spektor
  9. Scars // James Bay
  10. Leaving The City // Joanna Newsom

hopeless wanderer.

Genre: indie/folk
Main influences: James Bay, Head & the Heart, Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard

❝ but it is not all bad, to ride the winds, run upon the waves, and dance upon the mountains, and it is all that I have left. ❞
This is the playlist I had most wanted to make and what sparked this need to made TDA playlists in the first place. I actually wanted to make a playlist about Mark when I was reading Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy but felt it was too early, so I just began to note down songs that popped into my head and would continue to add to later. Also that quote from him isn't from LM it's from novella #7 of TFSA, which is one of my favorite novellas and the catalyst for initially making this playlist because I truly love Mark Antony Blackthorn with every fiber of my soul. Most of these songs were already in my phone because for some reason I really love songs that have to do with nature and of course indie/folk music is my favorite genre. I wanted Mark's playlist to be light, breezy blend of various melodies that all coincide with each other. My main influences of this playlist were Head and the Heart, Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, and of course James Bay. Not only those are some of my favorite artists, but their voices blend very well together, that sometimes I even get confused which band wrote which song. On a side note there was a song that I wanted to put in here called 10,000 Weight in Gold by The Head and the Heart, but couldn't due to 8tracks two songs per artist limitation, but anyways I think this song can really fit in well with Mark so you should listen to it sometime. You can take a listen to this playlist here.

  1. Elysium // Bear's Den
  2. Hold Back The River // James Bay
  3. Clocks Go Forward // James Bay
  4. Silhouettes // Of Monsters and Men
  5. Shake // The Head and the Heart
  6. Black Flies // Ben Howard
  7. Sing For the Wind // Roo Panes
  8. Down in the Valley // The Head and the Heart
  9. Winter Winds // Mumford & Sons
  10. Butterfly Culture // Benjamin Francis Leftwich
  11. Pagan Poetry // Bjork
  12. Old Pine // Ben Howard
  13. Goner // Twenty One Pilots

in the midnight hour.

Genre: indie/alternative/electric
Main influences: James Bay, Ben Howard, Seafret, Sleeping At Last

❝ the sea-softened air filling the car and lifting the light hair around her temples. This was how she’d always ridden in cars with Julian, with her feet up and the wind in her hair. It was something Julian loved, Emma beside him in the car, driving with the blue sky overhead and the blue sea to the west. It was an image that felt full of infinite possibility, as if they could simply keep driving forever, the horizon their only destination.❞
Another reason for my sprawl of TDA playlists is the bane of my existence, Blackstairs. I can go on and on about how much I love them, but you can just read my review of Lady Midnight if you want to see that. I will most likely create separate playlists for Emma and Julian, but right now I just wanted to have one of them together. This playlist is heavily influence by me picturing Blackstairs midnight car rides and such, hence why I have a few songs that reference driving. But I also wanted to heavily feature the beach and the aspect of water. I wanted this playlist to have a chill indie vibe, but also with alternative and electric influences. I am truly in love with this playlist. You can take a listen here.

  1. Sinking Ship // Seafret
  2. Here With Me // Susie Suh x Robot Koch
  3. Hear Your Heart // James Bay
  4. Cigarette Daydreams // Cage the Elephant
  5. Flowers In Your Hair // The Lumineers
  6. Memo // Years & Years
  7. Fire and the Flood // Vance Joy
  8. The Beach // The Neighborhood
  9. Car Radio Drive // Halsey + Twenty One Pilots {mashup}
  10. Move Together // James Bay
  11. Depth Over Distance // Ben Howard
  12. Draw Your Swords // Angus and Julia Stone
  13. Young God // Halsey
  14. I Like Not Knowing // Fatherson
  15. Empire // Of Monsters and Men
  16. Destiny Rules // Fleetwood Mac
  17. Love Love Love // Of Monsters And Men
  18. In My Veins // Andrew Belle

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Review: Lady Midnight ɤ by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: Book #1 of The Dark Artifices

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars (BEST BOOK OF 2016)

Synopsis: It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses. 
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions… 
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

After anxiously counting down the days until my most anticipated book of the year is finally in my hands, the wait was over. Hours upon hours spent pouring over these pages and absorbing this story in the ungodly hours of the night until early mornings. This book has been everywhere with me as I frantically read, so content to finally be back in the Shadow World again, and as you can see I fairly enjoyed it.

Which is an understatement. This book, THIS BOOK was everything I wanted and then some. I'm going to split this review into two parts. The first one being a non-spoilery general thoughts of this book. And the second part is where I spoil the life out of it, so I advise you don't read part two unless you have read this book. And I advise you to go read The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices while you're at it. I won't be spoiling any of the events of Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy unless it was directly mentioned in Lady Midnight, which if you have read LM by now, you were spoiled for a majority of TFSA. But if you need further convincing to read these novellas read this.

Part I: Non-Spoiler Review

❝ Once I was the elder, but now you are elder than I. When I was in the faerie country, each night I would think of each of you—of you and Helen, of Livvy and Ty and Dru and Tavvy. I gave the stars your names, so that when I saw them wink to light in the sky I felt as if you were with me. It was all I could do to still the fear that you were hurt or dying and that I would never know. But I have come back to a family not just alive and healthy, but whose bonds have not been severed, and that is because of what you have done. There is love here, among you. Such love as takes my breath out of my body. There has even been enough love left for me. ❞
There is always that dreaded feeling whenever you begin a new series by one of your favorite author. There's always that nagging thought in the back of your mind of: what if this book isn't as good as the other series? Or the dreaded: what if I really hate it? Though I was excited for the release of Lady Midnight, these were the thoughts going through my head as I counted down the weeks in anticipation. This was the first new release of the year I was purchasing, and my most anticipating book of the year; it would kill me if I hated it or thought it was just meh, but rest assured that wasn't the case.

There is something so familiar but different about this newest Cassandra Clare book. It feels more mature in the aspect of writing as opposed to her other books, but that is obviously the case when this is her most recent book and has had time to perfect her craft. But also we are reading a shadowhunter's novel where we are seeing these characters deal firsthand with the effects of the war and how it directly impacted their family, which is another reason for the more solemn tone of this novel. But don't get me wrong there is plenty of humor found throughout this story in increments which is classic to Cassandra Clare.

Honestly with the way this novel is going, this might replace The Mortal Instruments for my second favorite Cassandra Clare series. (The Infernal Devices hold a special place in my heart and will always be #1)

I just can't believe how much I fell in love with these characters. And I fell hard. While reading City of Heavenly Fire we were first introduced to Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorns and to be honest I didn't care much for them at the time because I have this thing where I can't bring myself to like characters who are brought in at the end of the series. I don't even know why I do this, but I do. Anyways, now that they are all five years older, I really grew to love them. Cassandra Clare doesn't just write characters. Each member of the Blackthorn family is their own individual person and they all feel as tangible as one's breath.

Some people complain that this novel is very slow in the beginning, but I have to disagree. Lady Midnight is the first in a new series, and it can be read without reading her previous books, though I wouldn't recommend it because you honestly will not enjoy this book half as much if you did not read any of her previous books and novellas.

Reading this was an emotional roller-coaster for me. There is no greater feeling than to be back into the Shadow World again. And this time it takes place at the Los Angeles Institute. Even though I've never been to the west coast, reading Cassie's descriptions of Los Angeles, and the Sunset Strip, and Santa Monica, were so vividly descriptive it felt as if I was there right along side of these characters.

And this is a big book, but Cassie manages to balance the plot to the point where it doesn't drag. Honestly I was having so much fun reading this that I wouldn't mind if there was a mundane scene of them just in the supermarket. This is essentially a mystery and as the novel progresses we are increasingly advancing on discovering who killed Emma's parents and who is behind all these murders going on and it was just genius how Cassandra Clare manages to weave this core plot, with the other advancements that are going on in this novel.

A favorite part in this book (though there's many tbh) was seeing Emma and Julian's relationship strengthen and development. I highly recommend you just go and read this book because those two are just something you need in your life. This book was everything I was expecting and then some, some things Cassie gives us that we didn't even know we wanted, until you realize that you are fangirling over the most frivolous thing a character is saying.

Lady Midnight is full of action, mystery, suspense, family values, and core love aspects which ranks this book as my favorite of 2016. I know it's a little early in the year to be making #1 spot declarations, but I honestly can't see what can top this read for me.

Part II: Spoiler Review

Spoiler city for all ye who enter. You have been forewarned.

As I write this review hours (it was hours, but I was too lazy to finish it which is why it is actually days later, but then again I digress) after completing Lady Midnight, I am still in awe of the masterpiece that is this book. As aforementioned one of my biggest fears in the back of my mind was not loving it in comparison to her other books, but this book was heaven on earth for me.

We start off with the perspective of Kit Rook, which threw me off guard for a short while. I will admit that I was so anxious to meet my favorite characters that I did sort of read this quickly, but in my mind I was questioning why would Cassie start off a book with a character we never heard about, and who we only see a couple of hundreds of pages later? It was when I was halfway through this prologue I went on twitter and saw that Cassie had tweeted that we would find out what had happened to the lost Herondale in this book. And that was when it clicked for me that Kit was most likely a descendant of the original lost Herondale. If you didn't know who the lost Herondale is about, it's a novella in Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy called The Lost Herondale, which you should definitely check out. I literally screamed and noted "I KNEW IT!! I CALLED IT!!" on my book in the middle of the night because I was so excited to have figured that out in just the prologue. I'm really excited to find out more about Kit in the next book Lord of Shadows, I honestly want to see him have an interaction with Jace and Clary. *please Cassandra Clare make it happen*

Reading this book was just an incredible experience. Lady Midnight is definitely a book of it's own in light of the rest of the shadowhunter books. You really get to see how much Cassie's writing has grown and developed and honestly the way she can construct sentences so beautifully had me highlighting and tabbing things all over.

This book felt so much more mature in certain aspects of it. There was definitely less comic relief in this book, mainly due to the fact of how the Dark War had impacted these children's lives, but when there is humor in here, it's pretty hilarious.

What makes this book so phenomenal is the amount of love in it. I loved formally meeting the Blackthorn family and getting to see their different personalities and weird idiosyncracies that make up who they are. You can see there is a strong bond and connection that they share with each other, because they only have each other.

What's interesting is that we do get to see a new aspect of nephilim society, which is the Scholomance. Which was originally opened to train Shadowhunters to deal with both demons and Downworlders, but it was closed after the signing of the First Accords in 1872. But now after the Dark War, it is reopened to investigate cases involving faeries. I'm intrigued to know more about this place and I wonder if we'll visit it in later books. It's also interesting how Cassie draw this version of the Scholomance from an actual fabled version, because the original version of the Scholomance is a fabled legendary school of black magic run by the Devil located somewhere in the Transylvanian mountains.

We also get to see a new face that we haven't seen previously before in Cassie's other books and that is Cristina Rosales. I really grew to love Cristina in this book. Not only is she a great friend to Emma, but she stands so solidly in her own right. She's very understanding and can really compartmentalize situations and seek out solutions among the craziness that is the Blackthorn family. I just love her sense of sensibility and wisdom, which is unusual for people her age. Like how she made everyone clear the room when Mark was first returned to them and how she could see how much everything was overwhelming him. I also really love the growing bond between her and Mark throughout and I really hope it does pan out into a relationship.

I really want to take this time to mention again how much I love Mark Blackthorn. Originally I believed that we wouldn't be seeing Mark until later in book two, but when I read on twitter that we would see him return home in this book I was beyond excited. I wasn't expecting it to be so early on in the book, which led to a lot of tear shedding. Mark Blackthorn is honestly one of my favorite characters in this novel. When he comes back for the first time it's heartbreaking to see how he struggles to recognize his siblings faces, for they've grown so much without him in the past five years. There's that constant feeling in the back of his mind, once he eases more into his family that he worries he will say something to screw it and up and make them hate him. Honestly I just wanted to hug Mark and take him under my wing. *must protect at all costs*

I love the repetition of the reference of the stars throughout this, which was a nod to the Bitter of Tongue novella where we first see Mark mention naming different stars after his siblings every night so he wouldn't forget them. That was my favorite quote in Bitter of Tongue and probably out of all the Shadowhunter Academy novellas, and it was making me so nostalgic to see it again. And also a little teary eyed.

But can we talk about how much I love his faerie speech. Everything that comes out of his mouth is so lyrical and beautiful that he could probably make an insult sound like a compliment. That scene at the diner with the strawberries honestly killed me.
But you do have strawberries on the menu,” said Mark. “And I have seen plates being carried to and fro. So it stands to reason that the strawberries could be placed upon a plate and brought to me.” 
Jean stared. 
“He has a point,” said Ty. “Strawberries are offered as a topping on several dishes. Surely you could separate them out.” 
“A plate of strawberries,” Jean repeated. 
“I would take them in a bowl,” said Mark with a winning gaze. “It has been many years since I have eaten freely at my choice, fair one, and a plate of strawberries is all that I desire.”
Jean looked dazed. "Right," she said, and disappeared with the menus. 
“Mark,” said Julian. “Was that necessary?” 
“Was what necessary?” 
“You don’t have to sound like a medieval faerie poem,” Julian said.”
Honestly that was just perfection. Can we also talk about Mark and Kieran? I sort of saw this coming having know previously that Mark was bi, but also in Bitter of Tongue, (one of my favorite TFSA novellas) when Mark is talking to Simon and then Kieran tries to lead Mark away there was something strangely intimate the way he would talk to him that lead me to believe that there was something going on between them. Though I'm grateful for Kieran taking care of Mark while in the Hunt I couldn't help but ship Mark and Cristina. Mark and Kieran's relationship felt more of something inevitable because they were all they had in the Hunt and Cristina puts it perfect in saying "That is not love, that is a debt." I feel as if Mark hangs on to Kieran so long because he feels guilty of leaving him alone in the Hunt. I was pretty chill with Kieran in this book, but at the part where he got petty and told Gwyn and Iarlarth about Mark breaking the Hunt's rules I was done with him. I don't even care that he sort of tries to redeem himself by the end of this novel, because if he truly loved Mark he would want him to be happy and not forcibly bring him back into the Hunt as a punishment.

That entire whip scene was a mess. I knew. I KNEW. That once the punishment was twenty lashings that this would turn into the Hunger Games with everyone volunteering as tribute for Mark. Of course Julian had to step up to the plate and volunteer despite me frantically screaming at my book for him to stop. Then Emma has to be martyr too and knock him out so she could take the punishment instead. Can all my faves stop putting themselves in danger, that would be great. *cries*

But now let's talk about the bane of my existence; Blackstairs. I can't even express to you how much I am Blackstairs trash. I have never shipped a couple so much in these shadowhunter books as I have with Blackstairs.

But let's start off with their friendship. Emma and Julian have such a unique and all encompassing parabatai relationship, that it was giving me throwbacks to Will and Jem's relationshp, which led to more crying. The way they look out for each other and how they sleep in each other's beds at night to just to comfort each other. Cassandra Clare loves to do this thing where she likes to drag out romantic tension and slowly kill you with feels, which was evident in this book. Oh my god I can't tell you the amount of times I was squealing whenever they would do something so simple such as placing runes on each other. Then in their minds they would always be scolding themselves of how they shouldn't feel this way about each other and how the other would find them disgusting for feeling this way. Which as a reader you're like "WELL MAYBE IF YOU TWO JUST TALKED TO EACH OTHER THEN YOU WOULD KNOW HOW THE OTHER FEELS." Like c'mon Emma and Jules a little heart to heart wouldn't kill you.

This was dragged out a good 350 pages or so until we get to the dance scene at the midnight theater where Julian and Emma finally dance together while I'm hyperventilating in a corner. I shall enlighten you with an excerpt:
“He had never touched her like this. 
He seemed like someone under a spell. Someone who knew he was under a spell, and was fighting against the pull of it with every nerve and fiber, the percussion of a terrible internal struggle pounding through his veins. She could feel his pulse through his hands, against the bare skin of her back. 
She moved toward him, just a little, barely an inch. He gasped. His chest expanded against hers, brushing the swell of her breasts through the thin material of her dress. The sensation whipped through her like electricity. She couldn’t think. 
“Emma,” he said in a choked voice. His hands contracted, sharply, as if he’d been stabbed. He was pulling her. Toward him. Her body slammed up against his. The crowd was a blur of light and color around them. His head lowered toward hers. They breathed the same breath.”
In my Blackstairs trash mind I was chanting for them to kiss, but of course that didn't happen. Earlier on, about 270 pages in we begin to see the abnormality of Emma and Julian's parabatai relationship. More specifically the scene where they are in the car after Julian has been shot with that arrow. Emma's panicking, I'm panicking, Julian's trying to calm her down and this turns into another mess. In my mind at that moment I'd rather take my chances and call the Silent Brothers, then just sit there hopelessly trying to heal them. And when she puts on the iratze on him and it doesn't work my heart clenches, and when she tries again and it doesn't work I'm then again panicking. And then third time she is able to do it:
“Something in her chest seemed to split and crack; she marveled that it wasn’t audible. Energy raced along her veins and the stele moved in her hand, tracing the graceful outline of a healing rune across Julian’s chest. She heard him gasp, his eyes flying open. His hand slid down her back and he pressed her against him, his teeth gritted."
Honestly when I first read this I didn't know it had anything to do with the bond. I thought maybe that Emma maybe had some sort of power we didn't know about. It's later emphasized when Malcolm tells Julian that that arrow should have killed him, that he shouldn't even be alive right now. We're still pretty unclear so far as to why parabatai can't fall in love. Throughout all the shadowhunter novels we've consumed we never really know the reason why, I'm honestly surprised why I rarely question it. I didn't even think that Cassie would give us an answer in this book, but right around the end of the book we have a scene with Jem and Emma and he finally tells us that if the parabatai fell in love romantically, the parabatai spell would cause them to wield magic similar to warlocks. But he also say that it would drive them mad and they would destroy their family. I'm curious to see how that would work out. This part had me internally screaming because I honestly don't know H O W we are going to get around this. This isn't some minute law where we can talk our way around, it psychically affects and its only a matter of time before they're found out.

But my Emma and Julian NEED to be together, there's no question about it. Cassandra Clare can't do this to me. We need to find someway around this. They can break the bond if they become mundanes, but being stripped of your Marks can lead to death and besides they don't want to not be shadowhunters. I highly doubt the Clave will ever legallize something that can be so potentially dangerous so my guess is that they're going to have to find some way to break the parabatai bond. Maybe sever it with Cortana, because "A blade by Wayland the Smith can cut through anything." Could that be possible foreshadowing? Who knows Cassie never does anything in this book without reason.

I truly believe that their lives are tied together. Like if Emma dies, Julian would too. There's a physical connection through the bond where they can feel each other's pain more strongly than a normal parabatai bond. In the studio, when he throws up seawater. That has never happened in a normal parabatai relationship. Julian even goes on to think:
"He placed his hand over the rune. And he knew. He knew without knowing how he knew, knew it down in his soul where his connection to Emma had been forged in blood and fire. He knew in the way that she was a part of him, the way her breathing was his breathing, and her dreams were his dreams, and her blood was his blood, and when her heart stopped he knew that his would too."
And even afterwards on the beach when he pulls out the water he says to Emma that "I don't live if you die!" After that terrifying scene of possible imminent death Cassie rewards us with an official Blackstairs kiss scene. I squealed, cried, and died at the same time. Oh my god you don't know how hard it was to read this in the middle of English class trying to keep calm. This epic scene which just gave me all the feels and made me emotionally unstable:
“He found her mouth with his again, and as if her lips were connected to every nerve ending in her body, her “whole self seemed to spark and dance. So this was what it was supposed to be like, what kissing was supposed to be like, what all of it was supposed to be like. This. 
He leaned in to outline her mouth, her cheek, the sandy curve of her jaw with kisses. He kissed his way down her throat, his breath warm on her skin. Tangling her hands in his wet curls, she stared up in wonder at the sky above them, wheeling with stars, shimmering and cold, and thought that this couldn’t be happening, people didn’t get things they wanted like this. 
“Jules,” she whispered. “My Julian.” 
“Always,” he whispered.”

I just couldn't anymore. I am so glad that we had a kiss and sex scene this early on in the first book of the series. This is something that so rarely happens, but these characters are so intimately connected in every other way, it was only inevitable. And they can also speak in each other's minds now?? What even.

I am so in love with the way Cassie write's Emma and Julian. They're so different from characters from other books and they feel so tangible. Especially Julian. My heart just goes out to him. This is a kid who had to kill his father when he was twelve years old, see his two older siblings getting taken away from, raise his four younger siblings like they're his children, AND not only RUN the Los Angeles Institute by himself at the age of 12, but hide the fact of his uncle's mental deterioration. If this is not a steadfast example of endurance then I don't know what is. So many decisions, so much adult responsibilities was thrown onto this boy of twelve years old, who is just trying to keep his family together, which is what makes him into the 17 year old he is now. Julian has such a strong sense of protection for his family, even more so that he refers to them as his children. In Lady Midnight it is evident that he will do anything to keep them safe and together. Not caring if he has to get his hands dirty. Which is what makes his character so interesting and as Kieran said it perfectly that Julian has "a ruthless heart". The ease and conviction which he can lie is also frightening, even to Emma. He knows when something needs to be done and he does it, to save his family. Such as convicting Anselm Nightshade at the end of the novel which he with no remorse, but I believe will have repercussions later on.

I also saw in watching emmabooks review that Nightshade is a shadowhunter last name and that it was the last name that Clary's grandmother, Adele Nightshade, so it stands to good reason that Anselm might be/was a shadowhunter.

But I digress. Emma is the first main character we have in the Shadow World who grew up as a shadowhunter, unlike Clary or Tessa. I loved how people compared Emma's combativeness to Jace. OMG can we talk about the fact that Jace and Clary are now the most famous shadowhunters in the world, this makes me so nostalgic and proud, and weirded out at the same time. But anyways back to Emma. I honestly loved Emma as a protagonist more than I did Clary. She has the fierceness about her and the kind of person that gets stuff done. You still see her struggle with coming to terms with her parents death, as the rage and the need for revenge consume her daily thoughts. You see Julian be her balance and the one to rein her in. There's no perfect match than these two, okay. The way she has found her place among this family where she is related to no one. I'm just really in my Emma Carstairs feel right now. *cries*

So we've reached the inevitable betrayal. I. Was. Not. Expecting. This. At. All. Usually I'm good at predicting things, but I did not see Malcolm's betrayal at all. I was reading this in the car and audibly gasped at my book, something that I practically never do. I didn't see it coming right up until a second before Emma did. It then all clicked, and had me thinking back to a quote Malcolm had said in the beginning that "they should not depend on him too much, because he'll let them down, people always do" or something along those lines. When reading it first struck me as such an odd statement, but now I can see the foreshadowing. I can't imagine how this betrayal of Malcolm will affect the Blackthorns in later books. I was so ready to be trusting of him, because of Magnus and Catarina I actually liked warlocks, but then we were so blinded to see this betrayal. A part of me wants to feel bad for him, though I do feel terrible for what Anabel Blackthorn had to endure. Being buried alive, by your own family? Who even does that?? I can't help to wonder if this took place during the time of The Last Hours or Infernal Devices or if it was before.

Anyway it will be interesting to know more about this situation considering the fact that she is now alive. Even though I saw this coming I'm still anxious I know what happens next. I doubt that Annabel is going to come out her grave and be all chill. How is she even alive? I think that one of Blackthorns probably started bleeding during the fight and that must have been the 'Blackthorn blood' that was needed. Can we also talk about the fact that Malcolm is supposedly dead. I do not believe for a second he is dead. I wanted to yell at my book when Emma stabbed him and then pushed him into the water, like whyyyy??? Why couldn't you make sure he was dead. Even though we see a demon grab him in the water I still believe he's alive and the Black book is now in the ocean and probably in his possession.

And JESSA. For some reason I was lead to believe that there was a lot of Jessa in this book, but they were only really seen at the end. *sigh* You can bet I got emotional when I saw my favorite characters again. And I love Jem and Emma's relationship, I really hope to see more of it in the later books. And I couldn't help but think of Will when Tessa was speaking about love.
“Oh, if we could end love just by willing it, life would be very different!” Tessa laughed. “It’s easier to end someone else’s love for you than kill your love for them. Convince them that you don’t love them, or that you are someone they cannot respect—ideally both.” Her eyes were wide and gray and youthful; it was hard to believe she was older than nineteen. “To change your own heart, that’s nearly impossible.”
That part of Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince where he tried to push Tessa away from him because of the curse. *hides and cries again* 

And then, the end of the novel, where Emma basically pulls a Will Herondale and tries to convince Jules that she doesn't love him.
“Emma,” he said, reaching for her hand. “I will never, never give up on you.” 
It was a strange irony, she thought, a terrible irony that because she loved him so much and knew him so well, she knew exactly what she had to do to destroy everything he felt for her, in a single blow. 
She pulled away from him and started back toward the house. “Yes,” she said. “You will.”

At least Julian knew that she was doing this on purpose to protect him. But to make matters worse Emma then goes to Mark, and tells him that they should "fake date" to protect Julian. Honestly I don't know how Mark wasn't able to catch on to why she was asking him this, but then he agrees and the ending line was him closing the door and saying, "Why Lie?" I love you Mark but you need to take 500 steps back.
“The storm calls you as it calls me, does it not?He held out a hand to her, half-beckoning, half-offering.“Why lie?” he said.”
I wanted to scream at my book at this part. Why does Cassandra Clare do this to me? I can already see the mess that is going to be in Lord of Shadows, ughh why would Mark agree to this?? Like you obviously like Cristina, and now she's going to think you're in love with Emma and this going to hurt Jules and ugh this is such a mess. I hate it when characters try to do something that they think will benefit the other person. Why do you think this is a good idea??? It's almost NEVER a good idea. I'm not ready for the next book at all. I'm so unprepared, and I'm anxious and excited all at the same time for Lord of Shadows. So now Jem and Tessa are going to look for the Black book. Like how does that work are they physically going to have to in the ocean or can they track it? But I'm just waiting to see them again.

I'm also very excited to see more of Christopher Herondale and how he is at the Institute. Even though we pretty much see how he isn't too fond of shadowhunters, but hopefully he'll come around. What are your thoughts on Lady Midnight? I don't know how I'll survive a year for the next book Lord of Shadows, but rest assure that they'll be a lot of rereading in the near future. I have various playists plan for these books so keep an eye out on my 8tracks or bookish playlists tab.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Bookish Playlist: nephilim. ɤ

In anticipation for the release of Lady Midnight I made a shadowhunters playlist on 8tracks. This playlist was mainly inspired by the Shadowhunter Academy novellas, which if you already didn't know why I am obsessed, you can read here. I wanted this playlist to capture the feel of Shadowhunter Academy, not only Simon, but those who came years before and the people he meets along the way. You can listen here.

Genre: indie/folk
Main influences: Ben Howard, Of Monsters And Men, and Halsey

nephilim ɤ
❝ What is a Shadowhunter made of, if they desert their own, if they throw away a child’s heart like rubbish left on the side of the road? Tell me, if that is what Shadowhunters are, why would I wish to be one? ❞ 
❝ Because that’s not all they are. ❞


1. Afire Love // Ed Sheeran
2. When I Dream I See // Mighty Oaks
3. Growing Up // Run River North
4. Midnight Moon // Oh Wonder
5. Control // Halsey
6. Silhouettes // Of Monsters And Men
7. Draw Your Swords // Angus and Julia Stone
8. Rivers and Roads // The Head and the Heart
9. Sing For The Wind // Roo Panes
10. Hopeless Wanderer // Mumford & Sons
11. Black Flies // Ben Howard
12. Sinking Ship // Seafret
13. Us // Regina Spektor
14. Old Pine // Ben Howard
15. Atlas // Benjamin Francis Leftwich
16. Young God // Halsey
17. Down to the Second // Zach Berkman
18. Iris // Goo Goo Dolls
19. Ho Hey // The Lumineers
20. Love Is The End // Keane

Saturday, 5 March 2016

February Wrap-Up

The month of February had me reading nonstop. Honestly I couldn't help myself with this Hamilton reference because this month I had been reading like I was running out of time. The past few months, my wrap-ups have been pretty small. And though I am a major believer of quality over quantity, I have been wanting to get through books at a faster rate than previously. This month I read a total of 20 books, most of which consist of novellas, short stories, and poems, but there are some regular full length novels in the mix.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
Now I am the queen of darkness and terror. ❞
This was the first book I read in the month of February and I was sadly not floored by it at all. I received this book from the publisher, mostly due to the fact that this book is blurbed as 'for fans of Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare' which so happens to be my top two favorite authors. Silver in the Blood takes place in Romania in 1890 following, two high society cousins Dacia and Lou who are sent from their homes in New York City to Romania to meet their family and learn a terrifying secret. This synopsis had intrigued me so much, but this book was such a let down. The beginning was incredibly slow, and honestly I couldn't find myself liking any of the characters. Due to the slow beginning, near the end it felt really rushed. I did like the plot and the concept of the storyline and also the Romanian setting. Even though I didn't love this book, I'm interested to see what's in store for the sequel.

Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Overall Rating: ★★★★★ 4.7 stars

Individual Ratings:
Welcome To Shadowhunter Academy ★★★☆☆ 3½ stars
The Lost Herondale ★★★★☆ 4 stars
The Whitechapel Fiend ★★★★★ 5 stars
Nothing But Shadows ★★★★★ 5 stars
The Evil We Love ★★★★☆ 4½ stars
Pale Kings & Princes ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Bitter of Tongue ★★★★★ 5 stars
The Fiery Trial ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Born to Endless Night ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Angels Twice Descending ★★★★★ 5 stars
❝ Mark grinned, something wild and fey in the grin, like sunlight glittering through a spiderweb. “And we do love mischief, Simon Lewis, and sometimes wickedness. But it is not all bad, to ride the winds, run upon the waves, and dance upon the mountains, and it is all I have left.❞ 
❝ Tell the Clave that I have saved more Shadowhunter lives, that I will be a Shadowhunter and be damned to them, that I will be a faerie and curse them! And tell my family that I love them, I love them, and I will never forget. One day I will go home.❞
Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy is what essentially pulled me from my prolonged reading slump. I can go on and on about the beauty of this novella collection, but I already talk about this too much so if you want more of my thoughts, read this post.

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Overall Rating★★★★☆ 4 stars
Individual Ratings:
Shadow and Bone ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Siege and Storm ★★★★★ 5 stars
Ruin & Rising ★★★☆☆ 3½ stars

“Na razrusha'ya. I am not ruined. E'ya razrushost. I am ruination.”
It's been awhile since I've read an entire series back to back and finish them in one month. But after constantly putting it off I finally decided to finally read the Grisha trilogy. Shadow and Bone is set in an alternate Russia, Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a stretch of darkness infested with monsters, when Alina Starkov and her regiment is attacked on the fold, she emits a power that not only saves her and her friend's life, but may be the key to defeating the Fold and darker powers that threaten her country's safety. I really did love this at first, Leigh Bardugo did pretty well with the set up in Shadow and Bone, we are introduced to this unique world of those with magical power, grisha. The writing flowed well and she developed most of her characters thoroughly. The Darkling being one of my favorite characters to have read about. There is something so intriguing about the way he speaks and thinks, honestly what would I do to know what is going on inside his head.

But anyways, we move to book two, Siege and Storm which was my favorite book out of the three. In this I feel Alina really comes to her power more, not to mention that we are introduced to a new character, Nikolai Lantsov, whom I adore. And then we get to Ruin and Rising, I have always heard mixed things about this last one, but never paid no mind to it. I thought I would be apart of the few that loved it, but frankly that was not the case. The beginning was great, it wasn't until the end that I really began disliking it. Near the end things began to get confusing and misconstrued and honestly I felt this book contradicted a lot of what was said in the previous book, and the ending was so unsatisfactory. I just felt certain character could have had more closure and things could have been explained better.

The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
❝ He understood then. The Grisha lived as shadows did, passing over the surface of the world, touching nothing, forced to change their shapes and hide in corners, driven by fear as shadows were driven by the sun. No safe place. No haven. 
There will be, he promised in the darkness, new words written upon his heart. I will make one. ❞
This is a Grisha trilogy novella that tells a story of the Darkling, before he became the Darkling. Honestly, I may have cried a lot while reading this. This novella is fairly short, it follows the Darkling and his mother as they finally settle in another town as something they constantly must do. They find a grisha camp, as this were the case due to the fact that the world pretty much despised grisha and hunted them down regularly. You see the Darkling as just a boy, yes he has his strange dark power, but in this story you see him have many boyish wants. A longing to fit in, to make friends, to stay for a season and not move around all the time. It's heartbreaking to see when he experiences cruelty, the point where you can see him not being able to trust anymore. I can imagine that after this novella is where the change takes place, where he feels he no longer needs anybody, where he really grows into his power and longs to make the grisha great and respected again. I honestly wished this could have been longer.

The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
❝ Because I am a doll, and a servant. because I am a pretty thing and a soldier all the same. ❞
This is another grisha trilogy novella, one from a scene from Shadow and Bone from Genya's perspective. I really enjoyed this novella, due to the fact that Genya is one of my favorite character's from this trilogy. It was really interesting to see her interact with the Darkling because we never really get to see them talk privately and I always wondered what made her want to join his side initially.

The Devil & Tom Walker by Washington Irving

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2 stars

"The good people of Boston shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders, but had been so much accustomed to witches and goblins and tricks of the devil in all kinds of shapes from the first settlement of the colony, that they were not so much horror struck as might have been expected."
The Devil and Tom Walker is a classic story about a man who meets the devil in the woods and ends up working for the devil due to his own greed. I had to read this for my English class, so I understood the theme of greed, corruption, and the trees surrounding the Indian fort representing the mortal decay of all the men who have sold their soul to the devil. It was statement to say that those who are too consumed with money are practically in the clutches of the devil. There is a lot of deeper meaning and motifs to be had from this story, but honestly it just wasn't my favorite.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
I have finally read one of the most influential poems in American literature. It was kinda sad that I have not read anything from Poe besides that of The Tell Tale Heart. The Raven is a dreary, phantasmagoric tale of love worn man who let's an ominous raven in his house. While reading this I did listen to the audiobook and it gave it an even more atmospheric feel to the story. you really get Poe's single effect of dreariness and despair. I definitely long to read more by him.

Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
"There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition—for why should I not so term it?--served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis."
I further delve into Poe's work with the Fall of the House of Usher. It's a grim short story where the narrator is invited over to his old friend Roderick Usher of the Usher estate. Upon meeting he sees Roderick has changed greatly since their childhood, his face looking weary and hard. The house is an entity of itself as you fall back into normal creepy tone of Poe's writing, you begin to see how the house mirrors its inhabitants. I just thought this story was okay, but maybe if I read it again in the future I could appreciate it more.

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2½ stars
“A teacher (a good teacher) is composed of molecules of education and intelligence, bonded together by patience and passion.”
Was not a fan at all. Kate Malone is your typical straight-A, smart, female character who is somehow careless enough to apply to one college. That's right, one. Kate only applies to MIT because she feels as if she is a shoe-in. This novel is essentially her dealing with her decisions, and by dealing I mean constantly complaining about everything unfair about her life, because of her rash decisions. I listened to the audiobook of this and honestly if I hadn't this would probably have a lower rating. I did like the narrator's voice, and honestly Kate could be funny at times when she wasn't constantly whining, but the end of this story sort of cuts of that kind of does it for me.

February Book Haul

Another month has gone by and yet again, I've managed to accumulate more books, a total of 17. A small consolation is knowing that all the ones I bought were all used, and I was quite excited to find many of these titles in excellent condition. Again I'll split this haul into two parts: books that I bought/gifts and books for review.

Part I: Books I Bought/Gifts

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was beyond excited upon finding The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This has been a book I've had my eye on for awhile, even more so due the amount of praise coming from the bookstagram community. All I know is that it is about a mysterious circus that pops up one day in the middle of the night. I can honestly stare at this gorgeous cover all day, and looking forward to all the mystery and intrigue that is bound to ensue.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I pretty much bought this book on a whim. For some weird reason I seem to be wanting to collect all of Gillian Flynn's books before I start them. I don't even know much about this book, besides the fact that it's a psychological thriller, but I really love going into those types of books blind.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I think this is the first time I've ever bought a double copy of something purposely. I saw this movie tie-in lying around the thrift-store for a couple of weeks now. I had thought about buying it numerous times, but never ended up actually doing it until now. I decided to just cave since it was so inexpensive, and this is one of the few movie covers I actually love. Not to mention that I'm pretty much shadowhunters obsessed so I'll buy anything related to it.

The Martian by Andy Weir

I actually received this book from one of my lovely friends who honestly didn't really much like this book, but knew how much I wanted to read it so she gave it to me. I'm still really looking forward toward this, especially since I also want to see the movie afterwards. This cover is gorgeous, but I do prefer the simplicity of the hardcover. Also, this cover reminds me of the Deja Entendu album cover by Brand New. I just think they compliment each other well.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Honestly thrift-stores have been treating me well with these Barnes and Nobles paperback classics, once you start actively looking for them, you can find them almost anywhere. I did find many, but I only want to collect ones that I have an actual interest in reading. So elated to find a copy of Jane Eyre, I was surprised to realize that I didn't already own it. After living through the abuse during her childhood, Jane Eyre grows into a young women and takes a job as a governess at the estate of Mr. Rochester and the two fall in love, until Jane unearths a terrible secret that he has been hiding. It's rare for me to pick up classics of this massive length, but I believe that consuming it slowly I will be able to take a lot from it.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Most likely one of my most exciting finds of the month. Keeping up with the paperback classics trend. I manage to purchase volume I & II of Sherlock Homes. Being a huge fan of the show and these books I knew I had to have them in this edition. I do own another edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but it only contains a handful of stories, which I very much so enjoyed. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has a very distinct way of writing which makes me separate him from any other type of classic fiction I read. There's something almost modern about the way he writes, the dry whit, hidden meanings, and almost snarky and dark demeanor of Sherlock Holmes makes you almost want to hate him in these books, but you can't because he's cunningly clever and at the end of the stories you're smacking yourself on the head in a "how did I not see it, he made it so obvious" kind of way. I do prefer reading these stories at regular intervals rather than all at once so it might take awhile before I am able to say I completed it.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

Completing this mini haul of paperback classics is this beautiful edition of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson. This was pretty much a blind grab. I came. I saw. I bought. This is actually a book that I have read before, though it was back in 8th grade when I had to read this for English class, and though the text was hard to get through at first I soon found myself really enthralled by this story. Prior to that all my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde knowledge came from the numerous adaptations I was obsessed with watching. It's going to be quite interesting to read this now years later and see how it compares and revive all that I have forgotten.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Usually this is the kind of book that would go unnoticed by me. I will admit that my main influence came from one of my favorite booktubers Whitney of whittynovels. She highly praised this book and called it one of her favorite books of the year, full of feminist ideals and being a classic was bound to pique my interest. This book is significantly short, only about a hundred pages or so, so this will definitely be one I get to soon.

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

I received this book in this month's The Bookly Box which is a bookish subscription box where you get choose a box based on genre and it sends you that book with the items pictured above. I have seen this book around for some time now, but checking upon goodreads reviews it seems that a majority seem to really enjoy this book, deeming it creepy and almost like a retelling of the Brothers Grimm.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

It's been a long time coming. I can finally say that I officially have all the Harry Potter books in my possession. I've been collecting these slowly over the years and I finally found copies of the last two books in good condition in just days of each other. I'm definitely planning to marathon these over the summer.

 Part II: Review Books

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

This was the first book to land on my doorstep in the beginning of the month. As you know I wasn't the hugest fan of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. While reading it I didn't feel wowed by much of the plot, it felt like any other ya fantasy I have previously read. It wasn't terrible, but just okay. I was still interest in continuing with the sequel Glass Sword, which recently released, though I've been hearing mixed things about this second book which makes me even more wary.

Publisher: Harper Teen

The Scarlet trilogy
by A.C. Gaughen

Funny thing is that I have seen this book around, but never actually picked it up. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen is retelling of Robin Hood, where Will Scarlet, a member of Robin Hood's band of thieves is actually a girl in disguise. It's not too often that I read retellings, but I do indeed love Robin Hood so this should be interesting to dive into and see where the rest of the trilogy takes me.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Photographer's Wife by Suzanne Joinson

The Photographer's Wife takes place in 1920s Jerusalem following civic adviser and architect Charles Ashton who has an an ambitious project to redesign the Holy City by importing English parks to the desert and knocking down Ottoman minarets. He then employs William Harrington, a British pilot, to take aerial photographs of the city and surrounding desert and soon falls in love with his wife, Eleanora. It's going to be quite refreshing to read a book that takes place during the 20s that isn't set in New York City. I'm expecting not only romance, but also the political intrigue.

Publisher: Bloomsbury