PSA: my apologies for being so lax about posting!

I would like to apologize for my lack of blogging presence recently. There are many reasons why I haven’t really been blogging, but the two primary ones are a.) I’ve been having a really rough (and busy!) few weeks, with WAAAAAYYY too many trials and quandaries ranging from family issues to money troubles to water tanks failing right in the middle of a hot shower (ARGGGGHHH) and b.) I’ve been devoting my 1-2.5 hours of writing time to my fiction work instead. My work on my novel (which began as a short story a few months ago and has now expanded) has been limited to  character intros and outlining so far, but I’m about to charge recklessly ahead into the first chapter. Expect to hear updates on The Novel as time goes on!

(I’ve also been working on a short story set in The Novel’s Asian-inspired fantasy universe, and that’s also coming along quite nicely. I’ve finished all my set-up work and am about to head into my second act, and I’m thinking this one JUST MIGHT come out publishable, if I can avoid messing up the ending.)

As for A, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in that regard. The family issues are resolving themselves (thank gods!) and I’m getting ridiculously excited for college in the fall! This gap year has been wonderful in terms of having the scheduling freedom that I’ve had, but I am finding that without the structure of an academic work schedule, I am not as good at ignoring distractions/making deadlines. Also, I love learning, and am very excited about the classes I am taking this semester, especially Women’s Studies and Anthro 101.

For the record, I also have Evil Plans for this blog, which I will reveal in due course as they come to fruition. 😉 You guys are wonderfully patient with me, and I intend to reward that patience!

ETA: The next review to go up will be of Katana by Cole Gibsen; after that, expect to see my reviews of City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare and Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott! Happy reading!

Clockwork Princess Countdown

I’m so excited! Literally can’t wait!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Characters of All Time

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Check ’em out! 😉

There’s something you should probably know about me before you start reading this post.

I LOVE characters (which is probably a good thing for my writer-brain), and I get attached to them in ways that are probably unhealthy. I weep for them, I laugh with them, and I mourn them when they’re gone. Don’t get me wrong– I love “real people” too. I just have a fangirl problem.

So be ready. There will be MASSIVE fangirling ahead. MASSIVE. (Also, it’s a darn good thing this one is limited to books/graphic novels– I have half an hour to jot out this post and if I had TV/movie characters in there as well, it might literally take me all day. :P)

1. Crowley (Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, Good Omens)

Yeah, Crowley gets top billing here. Badass Angel-Who-Sauntered-Vaguely-Downward who has a weakness for good food and classic British cars? Me likey.

 

 

2. Aziraphale (Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, Good Omens)

Annnd I couldn’t mention Crowley without Aziraphale, now, could I? I appreciate his book obsession, and also the strange balance of utterly selfish and pervasively GOOD that Gaiman and Pratchett have achieved within his character.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Remus Lupin (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series)

I try not to play favorites with HP, since I love all the HP characters, but Lupin has always been and will always be a character that I really appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Katniss Everdeen (Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games)

Katniss is a badass with a heart of gold. ‘Nough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Daine Sarrasri (Tamora Pierce, The Tortallbooks)

Daine was always a girl after my own heart, and her character progression throughout this series is FANTASTIC.

 

6. Numair Salmalin (Tamora Pierce, The Tortall books)

Part of what drew me to Numair is that he is a TOTAL DORK…. but he’s also a badass who could kill you with his pinky finger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Jem Carstairs (Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel)

Plays violin. Kicks demon ass despite his physical limitations. Kind, generous, and loving. Yeah, Jem is my favorite.

8.  Death (Markus Zusak, The Book Thief)

Doesn’t look like this. Also, BEST NARRATOR EVER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Anna Korlov (Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood)

I just love her so much, both as a vengeful ghost and as the girl Cas falls for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Juushiro Ukitake (Tite Kubo, Bleach)

I’m cheating a little, because he is actually from an anime/manga, but whatever. At first, I kind of hated him because to me he broke the flow of the whole Soul Society arc, but he grew on me as time went on. What can I say? He became one of my all-time favs. Funny how that turns out.

 

 

 

 

What are your Top Ten characters? Let me know in the comments or link me back to your own TTT post! 😀

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books that Were Totally Deceiving (To Me, That Is)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Disclaimer: It’s not that hard to deceive me. I often buy books based off of the cover and the summary blurb without really looking inside. Your Mileage May Vary.

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Why: The red shoes are in the forefront of the cover, which made me think that this was going to be more of a fairy tale.

From the cover, I kind of assumed this was more of a fairytale, less of a sci-fi. I was okay with it, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. (Also, I still have an unfortunate association for the name Meyer. Why, Stephanie? Why??

2. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White


Why: Stock YA cover with stock YA Paranormal summary on a pretty unique book.

From the cover and blurb, this book looks pretty run-of-the-mill. However, once you start reading, run-of-the-mill goes out the window, to be replaced with awesomeness!

3. I‘d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You and sequels by Ally Carter

Why: Stock YA covers on awesome books

Again,the covers on these are unremarkable. Their content, however, wows and amazes pretty consistently.

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Why: Cover is more creepy in tone than content.

The cover is creepy. That girl feels like she’s staring right into your soul. But the content is more urban adventure fantasy than horror.

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Why: Cover looks like a Gothic/Victorian novel, not a modern paranormal.

This cover is so beautiful…. but there’s something distinctly Victorian about it, and aside from the Jack the Ripper plotline, very little Victoriana in the actual book.

6.  Romances in General

Why: The covers on pretty much every romance suck.

Julie at TBAB already mentioned these, but I thought they deserved another mention. There are a lot of romance authors who I actually quite like, but it’s hard to weed out good from bad when every cover and summary looks the same.

7. Vacations From Hell by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Claudia Gray, and Sarah Mlynowski

Why: The cover fails at being relevant.

I don’t remember ANY of these stories being about a pink flower. That said, I might have forgotten…. (Overall, these stories themselves are pretty unremarkable, but check out Bray and Johnson’s contributions if you do ever pick it up. They were both awesome.)

8. Pretty much every cover for the manga Ghost Hunt by Fuyumi Ono and Shiho Inada

Why: The covers are very shojo and don’t really do a good job of conveying the things that Ono and Inada are good at it.

Again, a pretty cool series falls prey to Stock Cover Syndrome. Ono is good at constructing a creepy narrative that’s still definitely aimed at girls, and Inada is pretty adept when it comes to capturing that with her art. Also, while Mai does have damsel-in-distress tendencies at times, she does take a level in badass as the series goes on– the cover of the volume 11, which I own, does not capture that progression very well. At this point, Mai’s doing less staring at beasties with a deer-in-the-headlights expression and more saving-everyone’s-bacon.

9. The new covers for Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series.

Why: Stock Cover Syndrome again.

I used to own copies of the original Immortals quartet with the nice cover art. They were destroyed in a move, when a box of books was soaked through, and I bought new copies that had new covers that I simply didn’t like as much. Then, I saw the new covers for the Alanna books and began frantically picking up copies with the original covers wherever I could, because if the Immortals covers were meh, then the new Alanna covers are just BAD. The clothing on the models looks too modern, and the hulking Twilight male leads brooding on the cover of the third book don’t look Jon or George-like (also, Alanna would have clunked their heads together for flanking her like that.) This series is very dear to my heart, and while I appreciate that the publishers are trying to make them more marketable, I really did like the old fashioned girl-with-a-horse-and-sword covers– I feel like they captured the spirit of the series, whereas teh new covers are simply flimsy window dressing.

10. Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Why: Cover is beautiful, summary is engaging– content is blah.

Disclaimer: I have not yet finished Illuminate– mainly because of the following:

a.) It’s an angel book– with none of the things that make angel books awesome. No flaming swords, no kicking ass and taking names, no Raffe-and-Penryn style badassery, no wings, no awesome powers, no intense moral qaundary– just a main character who sleeps a lot and takes instruction from a notebook that generates writing for her.

b.) It drags terribly for the first 3/4, making it hard to get through.

In short, this is the opposite of Stock Cover Syndrome– this book has Boring Content Syndrome, wrapped up in a nice cover and an exciting summary.

What books are in your Top Ten? Let me know in the comments! 😀

 

 

Freeform Fridays: A Love Letter to Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Prince”

(Hope you guys like this! You can check out my reviews of Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince by clicking the links.)

Dear Clockwork Prince,

You are the second book in a series. I, as a general rule, have an extremely hard time with second books. So when I finished Clockwork Angel, I was almost certain that I could wait for you to come out in paperback, allowing me to enjoy your story without laying down $19.99 on the hardcover and causing my poor bank account ultimate pain*. Duly, I shelved CA and moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.

However, you pursued me most aggressively. You enlisted the help of my friends, who told me tales of your exploits with great verve. You wooed me with your lovely cover featuring—who else? Only my favorite character in the entirety of the first book, possibly in the entirety of the series. Your 4.51 star rating on GR is what finally convinced me; still, I exercised ultimate caution for your first hundred pages, played the coy and collected one to your hopeless romantic.

Until I realized that I could not avoid your advances any longer. Until Jem started speaking Mandarin and telling Tessa she was beautiful and loved, until Will’s darkness threatened to engulf his soul, until Sophie became a badass little warrior-mouse-girl. You left me breathless and uplifted, tormented and twisted. I felt every pleasure and every pain as your characters did, and I could not avoid swooning into your arms.

And I, as a general rule, DO NOT swoon.

Also, you are never to tell anyone about that.

My point, dear CP, is that while I may have started out indifferent towards you—even cold at times—your charm has proved the winner over my cynicism. It gives me pain to shelve you, to move on to another novel, but I will do so because that is my way, and we are who we are, are we not?

Know only that I will always return to you, and when CLOCKWORK PRINCESS comes out later this year**, I will surely be torn between the two of you, even as Tessa is torn between Jem and Will.

You have my heart. You may now proceed to break it.

Sincerely,

Em

*Note: this account has been somewhat dramatized for the purpose of good storytelling. CP was actually 13.59 on Amazon, making it something of a steal :3

** Now the release date appears to have been moved to 2013.  😛

Freeform Friday Announcement

Okay. So. I am no longer doing Friday!reads on my blog because a.) sometimes I don’t have time to round up all my books and check to see how far I’ve gotten and b.) I’ve noticed that my blog has kind of become overwhelmed with reviews. I love writing reviews, and I like that you all seem to enjoy reading them, but I like to keep other sorts of writing present on my blog as well, which is why I’m pleased to announce:

Freeform Fridays!

You might get anything. Seriously. Some weeks, it will be essays. Some weeks, it might be poetry. And sometimes, it might just be me taking a prompt and running with it for a couple of paragraphs, or pic-spamming things I like that are relevant, or talking about writing. There might be even be videos :)

So, without further ado, allow me to present my first Freeform Friday offering: A Love Letter to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince

 

 

 

Book Review: “Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, #2)

(In case you missed it, my review of Clockwork Angel is here.)

 

Title: Clockwork Prince (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Available In: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook for Nook, eBook for Kindle

Maturity Level: 14+. Lots of some makeout scenes, quite a lot of violence, and disturbing imagery. Magnus Bane still exists, and Jem has  a steamy side. :3

You May Like This Book if: you like gothic romance, steampunk, or YA; if you want to read a really good portrayal of an awesome love triangle; if you’re a fan of Cassie Clare’s other work.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you will not read a love triangle NO MATTER WHAT; if you’re averse to romance in general; IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK ONE, CLOCKWORK ANGEL (I cannot stress this enough!). [Though I would like to include a shout-out to those who, like me, were not really impressed with The Mortal Instruments—THIS SERIES IS UMPTEEN TIMES BETTER. CC has really grown up as a writer and it shows.]

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND EXCESSIVE FANGIRLING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Clockwork Prince. Hmm. I have a hard time being eloquent about this book—usually I dissolve into meaningless sounds and massive amounts of hand-flailing—but I’m going to try.

Clockwork Prince picks up a little after the events of Clockwork Angel. Tessa has had some time to settle into her new life at the Institute, and indeed London, and she’s beginning to find some peace. However, that peace is abruptly shattered when a plot emerges within Shadowhunter society to unseat Charlotte as the head of the Institute. The Consul gives Charlotte and her followers an ultimatum—find Mortmain and bring him to justice in the prescribed amount of time, or lose her position, leaving Tessa and the others without protection.

Overall, I really, really, REALLY loved this book. The romance/love triangle was wonderfully handled, and there were so many scenes that either made me laugh out loud or made my throat close with tears. Occasionally, Clare over-describes, but for the most part, she appears to have attained a certain degree of proficiency in her craft that she simply didn’t have when she started out. If you’re still on the fence about this series, please do read this book; it’s definitely worth your time. 😀

Pros

  • Jem/Tessa/Will. This is quite possibly the best love triangle that I’ve seen in YA for awhile—neither of the dudes are jerks*, they both appear to truly love Tessa, and Tessa kind of truly loves both of them. And also? All three of these people are sexy as hell. I can’t help but wonder if Clare intends to make this less of a triangle and more of a threesome**, which would be awesome but might make it less marketable as YA.

*Well, Will. But there’s a story behind that. I will try not to spoil too much.

**Quick scan of the GR reviews for this book shows me that I’m not the first person who thought of this. HMM. There’s also a tweet that I remember but cannot find, where Clare actually mentions threesomes. I AM SEARCHING.

  • the humor, particularly any scene with Henry :3
  • details on Ascension and parabatai. I’m guessing some of these topics are covered in TMI, but I’ve only read the first book in that series, so I appreciated the detail.
  • Sophie and Henry becoming badass.
  • DEMON POX 😀 If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then I am saying NOTHING. Find out for yourself 😀
  • Magnus! (with Camille. And Woolsey. Oh, Magnus. I love you.)

Cons

  • Occasional over-description.
  • Unwieldy exposition in places.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Page 63, where Henry simply forgets what he was about to say. ❤
  • Page 202-205. No explanation required. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.
  • Page 327. I’m pretty sure the everyone-thinks-Will-is-a-lunatic meeting is a thing 😀

Favorite Line: “If you will not help me, I swear I will change into you and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress.” Tessa to Jem, pg 193 of Clockwork Prince.

Star Rating on Goodreads/Final Grade:  4.5 stars. A+.

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