Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

I like the whole Tinkerbelle thing going on here. This series has such great cover art.

I like the whole Tinkerbelle thing going on here. This series has such great cover art.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel. (Goodreads)






If you have not read The Raven Boys, or The Dream Thieves, first off, I’m sad for you. Second, I cannot be held responsible for any spoilers that might get spoilery and possibly spoil things for you. You have been warned.

Let’s catch up:

Maura is gone. Totally up and left and no one seems to know where to find her. Adam still has this weirder than weird connection with the Cabeswater that I don’t think even he understands. Blue still wants to kiss Gansey’s face off but, you know, based on everything she’s been told, it could kill him soooooo maybe now’s not the time. Gansey, unaware that Blue believes she will one day cause her true love’s death, pines for her too, his loyalty to Adam the only thing keeping him away. All the world is still a little bit in love with Gansey—except Ronan (oh, Ronan), who has it bad for Adam. Blue’s family is still as quirky as all get out, and they, along with Blue and her Raven boys, continue to search for the mysterious Glendower. They enlist outside help in the form of some new, interesting characters, and some new bad guys start sniffing around, making life even more difficult. You following?

That’s the main thing with this series, a series I LOVE. I have a hard time keeping up. The characters are amazing. Each book tells the story, with a slightly heightened focus on another character. And the whole idea, the whole setting—all of it—it’s totally bananaballs, but in, like, the best way possible. However, trying to keep it all straight –BECAUSE SO MUCH HAPPENS and SO MUCH OF IT IS ABSOLUTELY CRAZY–is difficult. The writing is incredibly gorgeous, as the previous two have been, but take my advice and read the first books again. Or at least skim them.

All things considered, this installment was very, very it good. I’d say it was my least favorite of the three so far, but it maintained the spirit of awesome we’ve come to expect from Blue and the boys. Definitely read it, be prepared for a few WHAT THE WHATS, and know that the end will, like its predecessors, leave you hanging on like a yo yo (see how I did that? I made you want to listen to a Wham song).

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 Anxiously awaiting book four. The last one. Sob!

Thank you to Netgalley and Scholastic for giving me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

OMG It’s Been a Month

Sooooo, it’s been a while. I’m sorry. I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. I’m still reading, still writing, still love blogging, but I’ve definitely fallen behind.  One thing I didn’t spend this past month doing? NaNoWriMo. Nope. Didn’t happen. As I mentioned previously, I did do something kind of funny: I reread Twilight.



It had been about five years since the last time I’d picked it up. Before that, I’d read it about three times. Back then I was like most people: I was sucked in. I loved Edward, I was engrossed in the whole love triangle, and I hated Bella and Jacob in equal parts (Bella, you can’t be in love with two people. You can’t). So, imagine my surprise when I caught a showing of the film version of my least favorite book in the series, New Moon, over the Halloween season, and I said I’m going to read that series again! It was a strange desire, but hey, I went with it.

Twilight First Kiss

Here’s what I learned: I still hate Bella. Really, she’s so self-deprecating and such an Edward worshipper that I feel she and I could never truly be friends (it’s essential that I at least respect all of the heroines in my books). I don’t hate Jacob yet. In fact, I forgot that I…wait..liked him in the first book. He was sort of endearing and sweet. I still felt super-wrapped up in the whole who is this crazy hot Cullen dude who keeps staring at Bella like he simultaneously wants to kill her and make out with her? That was fun to read again. Not fun? Bella’s snore-inducing descriptions of her nightly dinner-making. Seriously, how did I get past that five years ago? How did no one see fit to cut that out of the books? I still really liked Alice (when she hugs Bella and comments that “she does smell good”, LOVE). But the rest fell short for me. It wasn’t because I knew what was going to happen (hello, I spend half of my time rereading books to the point that I can practically recite them. It’s about the build up sometimes and not solely the outcome), it was more or less because Bella really has no personality. And Edward–it hurts me to say this–he felt a little blah. A completely, stalkery, devoted blah, but blah just the same.

So that’s my reread take.

But then I reread a fabulous book I hadn’t picked up in about two or three years, Jellicoe Road. Now, hold up. I’m not comparing the two books. Even I know it’s unfair to compare a Melina Marchetta book to anything else because she is vastly superior to most writers…but I am comparing experiences. Like I said, I’ve read Jellicoe Road several times, but it had been a couple of years for me since the last time. I am happy to report that this one did not disappoint. In fact, I had the same love–if not a deeper love, a more profound connection–with it this time around. Of course, that is due in part to the ever spectacular


but it’s also because of the magnificent writing, because of the beauty of the story, the angst, the pain, and the humor. Taylor Markham is everything a protagonist should be: flawed and frightened, brave, smart, and equipped with a beautiful heart. She’s a total, crazy enigma at times. She feels so real. She’s broken and yet she embodies such strength and character. I love her connection with Jonah, not just the romantic one (le sigh), but their history, their intensity. And I love the friendships in this story, both the ones in Hannah’s manuscript and the ones Taylor forges. My copy has so many dog-eared pages, and in re-reading it I found that I cried in all the same parts, I swooned in all the same places (maybe more), and I sat on the edge of my seat still waiting and hoping for all to turn out well. I was, once again, truly sad when it was all over again. This is one of those rare books I wanted to climb inside and relive again and again.

Jellicoe Road

Now, I think books like Twilight and Jellicoe Road both need a place on my shelf. And I fully intend to reread the rest of Bella and Edward’s story, as well as all of Marchetta’s work. They’re different stories, different depths for different moods, but I found it interesting to read one after the other. In one case I was wondering why I ever loved it (I still like it, despite how much I make fun of it at times), but in the other, I wondered how I could go even two years without reading it. It left a little hole in my heart, as though that book belongs to me and me alone. It was a reminder of all I loved about it and more…all I love about reading.


Top Ten Tuesday- Books For Your Beach Bag

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.


This week we are chatting up summer reads. Personally, I think a good book is good any time, but there is something about a cute, happy story, or a book with a good romance, that just SCREAMS summer. Plus, you need something to do at the beach other than pretending to be busy when you’re actually people watching (am I the only one who does this?).

beach sign

Here are a few I’d recommend:

The Princess Diaries1. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot- Let’s get the obvious one out of the way, shall we? But really, these books are funny, unbelievably cute, and you can read them in a single sitting. And then you’ll want to contact me and be like, OMG I get it now! I look like I swallowed a sock (see? You had to be there).

Summer I Turned Pretty2. The Summer series by Jenny Han– Well, duh. The name says it all. These books are perfect because they each take place over the course of the summers that Belly (trust me, you’ll get past the name) spends at the family beach house of Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. These are the boys she’s loved all her life, in the house she’s grown up visiting every summer. When she turns fifteen both boys begin to see her as something other than a kid sister (she’s not their sister, because that would be gross). Also, I dare you not to love Conrad Fisher. He’s a little douchy at first, but trust me. You’ll fall for him slowly.

We were Liars3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart– I loved this book. The review is still to come. It takes place on a private island owned by the Sinclair family. Yes, they are THAT filthy, stinking rich. But with that money, with that privileged family, comes sadness, and love, and an interesting twist.


Better off friends4. Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg– This book does not take place over the summer, nor is it set on a beach. But it’s being described as a YA When Harry Met Sally. Two best friends who fall in love. What could be cuter than that?

What I thought Was true5.  What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick– Definitely a summer book. This one takes place in a small seaside town. There’s a rich vs. poor element, there are family secrets and a protagonist with a past, and there’s a great love story. Fitzpatrick is particularly gifted at writing authentic love stories. Don’t miss this one.

My Life Next Door6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick– While you’re at it, don’t miss her debut novel either. It’s pretty perfect as summer love stories go.

Book of Broken Hearts7. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler– I loved this book. It is heartbreaking in many ways, but there is a beautiful love story here. There’s also a sweet romance, but at the heart of it is a story about a girl’s love for her ailing father.

the truth about forever8. Anything by Sarah Dessen- My personal favs will always be The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby, but you could probably pick any one and be happy. Her books are the essence of summer: good heroines and swoony guys, all set in a small town. She doesn’t shy away from issues, but she always leaves you feeling hopeful in the end.

Biggest flirts9. Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols– Oh, this one is cute and sexy and funny. I haven’t read all of her books, but this is by far the one I’ve enjoyed most. And I really, really love the two main characters. They have good chemistry and their banter is so cute that I kept finding myself with a big, stupid grin on my face.

This is What Happy Looks Like10. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith– Adorable. A. DOR. A. BLE. Just read it.


What’s Going in MY Beach Bag?

To All the BoysTo All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han– I haven’t read this and must rectify this immediately because Jenny Han is a YA goddess.

Scandal#Scandal by Sarah Ockler– Ditto. I always love her books. She is a fantastic writer. And the premise is so timely (a girl gets caught kissing her BFF’s boyfriend and her life goes haywire thanks to social media).

Gods and MonstersDreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor– I hate saying goodbye. Sniff. This is an amazing series. I’m so sad it’s over.

ChampionChampion by Marie Lu– We’ve owned this for about fifty years, but I can’t bring myself to move on. I am so bad at leaving a series I love behind.

The OneThe One by Kiera Cass– Yeah, what I said about the last two books.


Have a great Tuesday and Happy Reading!



The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them-not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all-family money, good looks, devoted friends-but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys. (Goodreads)

The Story:

Blue comes from a quirky family of psychics. While she has no actual psychic ability, she has the unique gift of being somewhat of an amplifier, giving off an energy that those who dabble in more otherworldly behavior feed from.  Blue has lived most of her life under the weight of a strange fortune: One day she’ll kill her true love with a kiss.  She decides early on that there will be no kissing for her, no falling in love, until one night while helping her aunt sort through the soon to be dead on St. Mark’s Eve, she sees a boy from Aglionby, the local prep school. Her aunt tells her she can only see him because he’s either her true love or she’ll be the one to kill him. Either way, this beautiful boy is going to die.

Blue, though she’s always tried to avoid those rich, arrogant boys from Aglionby, she befriends this small group of boys–The Raven Boys–headed by none other than Gansey, the young man whose ghost she saw in the churchyard. The boys are on a mission of their own, searching for a lost king and the mysterious ley lines that will lead them there. Blue is drawn into their mission, pulled to each boy in a different way until she can’t imagine her life without them.

My Thoughts:

I really loved this book.  Like The Scorpio Races before it, this story has a slow start. Stiefvater takes time building her world, establishing relationships, letting you in the mind of the characters’ lives and before you know it, you’re in love. You can’t put the book down. You can’t imagine why you haven’t read it sooner. But give it time, have patience. Some things are worth waiting for.

I loved the characters. Blue and her weird family of psychics, their strange rules and lifestyle, and this creepy fortune that Blue will kill her true love, sucked me in.  Then there are the boys. I struggled at first because initially, it seemed Gansey was the boy I was supposed to want Blue to fall in love with (but not kill, obviously). He’s magnetic and charming, almost single-minded in his quest, but there’s this endearing quality about him, this intense, protective love he has for the other boys that shows a softness about him. It seemed though, that Adam is the boy who first draws Blue in, asking if it would be okay to call her sometime. Adam is mysterious and quiet, leading a sad, double-life. He made my heart ache and there were so many moments–tiny ones where he’d hold Blue’s hand, or seem jealous of the way Gansey looked at her–that I had to read over again because there was such a vulnerability to him. Then there was Ronan, the fierce, troubled hot-head, certain to offend anyone within a five-mile radius. There was something about him I found so strange and funny. And lastly, Noah, who was sweet and gentle but definitely the biggest mystery of all. In some way, it seemed like Blue loved all of these boys and by the end of the book, so did I.

Be warned, this is not a complete story but a series. One storyline closes, yet it opens up a world of questions and sets up perfectly for the next book, The Dream Thieves. This series is odd and engrossing, different from anything I’ve read in quite a while. I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again, I loved it.

 Crush Intensity: 4.5/5  Definitely lives up to the hype.

Source: The library!

Dead Silence

Dead Silence (The Body Finder #4) by Kimberly Derting

Dead SilenceViolet thought she’d made peace with her unique ability to sense the echoes of the dead and the imprints that cling to their killers…that is until she acquired an imprint of her own. Forced to carry a reminder of the horrible events of her kidnapping, Violet is more determined than ever to lead a normal life. However, the people who run the special investigative team Violet works for have no intention of letting her go.

When someone close to Violet becomes a suspect in a horrific murder, she finds herself pulled into a deadly hunt for a madman with an army of devoted followers. Violet has survived dangerous situations before, but she quickly discovers that protecting those closest to her is far more difficult than protecting herself. (Goodreads)

The Story:

If you have not read the first THREE books in The Body Finder series, let me level with you. You are missing some serious hotness in the form of one Jay Heaton. And, um, some super-awesomeness in our heroine, Violet Ambrose. These books have it all: romance, good storytelling, creepiness. You should definitely read them–just start with book one, please.

For those in the know regarding this series, let’s get to crushing on Jay discussing the latest book.

In Dead Silence, Violet’s two worlds–her “normal life” with her friends and boyfriend and her paranormal life working with Sara and Rafe–converge. Rafe and Gemma enroll at Violet’s school, leading to many, many questions by Chelsea (Vi’s BFF) and to multiple awkward situations and moments of tension considering Rafe has a thing for Vi and Vi loves Jay (but is strangely drawn to Rafe because of this weird connection they have).  Chelsea is onto Violet. She knows she’s always hiding something, always lying. So Violet does something unexpected: she tells Chelsea the truth about her ability, about who she works with, the basics. This concerns Jay, who, as the Most Perfect Best Friend Turned Boyfriend EVER, is always worried about keeping Violet safe.

Now, of course, there’s a murder. (I know. There are a lot of dead people around this girl). This particular murder is gruesome because it involves an entire family. In fact, I had a hard time reading some of the details. At the same time, Derting continues to let us in the killer’s mind throughout the book while keeping his identity under wraps. I love that she does this because it only adds to the suspense and overall creep factor.

One of the big problems comes in when someone Violet knows becomes a suspect. This makes the murders all the more personal to her. And as she goes her normal Nancy Drew journey –complete with bad decisions and unneccessary risks–she puts not only herself, but those she loves, in danger.

My Thoughts:

I had mixed feelings about this one. I love this series. I love Violet and I love Jay. And, as mentioned, I love the tension and suspense as we read the thoughts of the serial killers.

I dislike the fact that Violet–in her mind, at least–jumps back and forth between Rafe and Jay. First, because Jay is awesome and there is no believable way that anyone would choose Rafe over him (did I just piss off the Team Rafe? I’m sorry). I don’t mean to say that Rafe isn’t a good guy, but I feel that Derting has spent so much time portraying Violet and Jay as a couple really in love with a commitment and a bond different from your average high school relationship (though not perfect, of course) that I find it hard to believe that one moment Violet is head over heels for Jay and the next sucked into Rafe and his professions of love (ish) feelings. I have to be honest. That irked me on behalf of Jay (and Violet. Get a grip, girl!)

I also struggle with Violet’s parents, who feel nonexistent at this point. This series and the relationships in it–aside from the paranormal thing–has always felt very authentic to me. Now, we barely see her mom and dad and that just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem like a normal teenager’s life and it doesn’t seem true to the Ambrose family in particular.

Overall, I still enjoyed the book and the tension, but this wasn’t my favorite in the series. I love the characters, and I love Violet’s gift and the way Derting uses Violet’s weaknesses as well as her strengths to make her shine, and fortunately that still rang true.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/5

Source: I checked this one out at the library!


Days of Blood and Starlight

Day of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 2) by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and StarlightOnce upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream? (Goodreads)

Oh, it’s so hard to compare anything to Daughter of Smoke and Bone because it was that uh-mazing. But we shall try. If you have not read the first book in this series there are some epic spoilers ahead, so please, please look away.

The Story:

Days of Blood and Starlight picks up just after the first book leaves off. Karou has disappeared after discovering that Akiva murdered her family, and after finding out her true identity. Although she is a world away, humans still have sightings of the mysterious blue-haired girl who could fly, leaving her best friend, Zuzana, to pick up the pieces, to put together the puzzle and try to find where Karou has gone. Akiva has been scouring the Earth and beyond–like, literally–to find her. He’s destroyed at how he’s hurt her, at how the dreams he and Karou (really he and Madrigal) once shared can seem so far away. It’s heartbreaking, this war between the Chimaera and the Seraphim, taking innocent lives and leaving power in the hands of the greedy and malicious. And Karou and Akiva are on opposite sides of it all.

But there’s always a sliver of hope. Remember? Karou means hope. In the wake of Brimstone’s death, she’s continued his legacy. Putting together the knowledge she gained from years as his helper, she’s become a resurrectionist, lifting up her people to build an army against the Seraphim. She lives at the palace with none other than the white wolf (but not lives with him lives with him), whose smooth ways continue to put her on edge. Karou remembers what he’s capable of and while she wants to help the Chimaera, with whom she readily identifies as her own, she doesn’t trust him fully.

Akiva is tortured–absolutely broken in every way possible–torn apart by memories of Madrigal, memories of Karou, of what he did to her family, of things he’s done as a soldier of the seraphim. He can’t change the past but he wants to be different . He wants to realize the dream he and Madrigal once shared. Karou, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with him. She wants to erase him or better yet, rise up against him.

My Thoughts:

This is a good story. It’s less poetic, less romantic than we saw the first time around because of the circumstances. Karou is in battle now. We see her strength (as if we hadn’t already) and yet we see this heartbroken longing she has to see her family again. Karou can resurrect so many soldiers; she can bring back people she once knew–but she must have the key ingredients. So, she has all of this power and yet she’s powerless to bring back Brimstone. She begins to see her life–both lives–more clearly and she starts to identify herself more with the Chimaera people, something Brimstone had originally protected her from. Now she has a purpose, but it’s not without physical pain and emotional scars. Akiva survives so much too. That’s basically what he’s doing, surviving. His heart is already changed, he just needs to find a way to show Karou and to make his brother and sister understand what needs to be done. There is intense emotion between them, love from Akiva and hurt, hurt, hurt from Karou.

One of the things I thought was so well-done was Karou’s relationship with Zuzana and her boyfriend, Mik. These two have some seriously sweet moments. I love their loyalty to one another and the lengths to which Zuzana will go to find Karou and help her in any way possible.

This book isn’t as amazing as the first, but I liked it. It’s still vivid and passionate, but its pace is slower and there isn’t a ton going on. I was prepared for this because I had a couple of friends who’d read it before me and weren’t pleased. That being said, I was totally into it. Yes, it’s definitely a second book. We’re somewhere in the middle and there isn’t that rush from discovering a new story or the incredible heights of a fabulous ending yet, but it’s all going in the right direction. Also, am I the only one amazed by Karou becoming a resurrectionist? That was a wonderful aspect of the story! Plus, the mystery and intrigue surrounding the white wolf and is he or isn’t he bad, oh and the painfully brooding way Akiva stares at Karou, le sigh. It’s all worth it.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 What can I say? I really love these characters and this lush story.

Where’d I Get It? The library, one of my favorite places ever. We won’t discuss the fact that I had an e-galley from the publisher way back when and my NetGalley decided to not like me until it had expired. Nope. Not talking about it.

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (Infernal Devices Book #3) by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess

Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her. (Goodreads)

So, where oh where are we in this lovely series?

Quick recap: Tessa is under the protection of the Shadow Hunters at the London Institute. She has this crazy shapeshifter ability but we don’t know how or why (meaning is she a fairy? Is she some kind of hybrid? What gives?) and there’s this insane guy named Mortmain who wants to use her powers. He’s creating this wacked out clockwork army and pretty much wants to destroy all shadowhunters. I mean, there’s way more to the story than that, obviously, most important being the love triangle. Tessa loves Will. She loves Jem. And they both love her ( I know! Why have I never had this problem?). And worse, the boys are parabatai (bonded as fighting partners, closer than brothers). When we left off in the last book, Will had finally, FINALLY, professed his love for Tessa only to find out that she’d just accepted Jem’s marriage proposal. (There is a world of wrong here because, sweet as he is, Jem is brother material. And I know that certain makeout scenes took the brotherly love out and all, but no. When Tessa agreed to marry Jem–I love him, really–it was truly a WHAT THE SHIZZ moment.)

And so the story continues in the third and final book:

Tessa is still engaged to Jem (wrongwrongwrong!!!!). Will is, not without pain and effort, trying to support Jem and keep a respectable relationship with the fiance of his parabatai (meaning : keeping it cordial, willing to protect her, trying not to make unnecessary eye contact or accidentally make out with her). Charlotte is pregnant (yay!) and Henry is busy being, well, Henry, maker of gadgets that don’t always do what they’re supposed to and general loveable nerd. Cecily, Will’s little sister, is training to be a shadowhunter, but her true motive is to get Will to return home. Gideon Lightwood is still staying at the Institute and he is quickly falling for our dear maid, Sophie.

I think that covers it.

The Problems (they are aplenty):

Jem is almost out of yin-fen–the addictive drug which keeps him alive–because, unbeknownst to everyone else, he’s been taking larger doses to feel healthier for Tessa. He knows they won’t have a long life together, but he wants to make those moments count. When Will, fearful for his friend, discovers this he tries to buy more of the drug only to discover that someone–a person who has instilled fear in everyone he encounters–has bought it all. Can you guess who? Yep, Mortmain, that big meanie! Mortmain offers to give the entire supply to Jem in exchange for Tessa. Of course Tessa is willing to go. Of course. She’s always been brave and self-sacrificing, but no one–not Jem, not Will–will let her go, so Mortmain finds other ways to force his will upon them.

Now obviously, if you’ve read a single Clare book know there are about fifty other stories going on as well, but this one, the one about Tessa and Mortmain, and the love she has for Jem and Will, is what carries the book. It’s where we started and it’s where it all ends. At the same time, there are portions about the Lightwood boys, about Cecily, about the future of the Institute (sexist Counselor Wayland still fighting to get it out of Charlotte’s hands) and all of it is resolved in the end. I fear that to tell you too much about these stories would spoil it.

Clare resolves the love triangle, though not in the way that I expected. In fact, I think few people anticipated the way she carried it through. There are answers for Jem and his illness, for Will, for Tessa and exactly who her real family is, and even answers for Mortmain. And finally we understand that clockwork angel necklace and what it’s meant to do.

There are some heart-wrenchng parts, some lovely parts and some things that made me cringe, but truly, I was satisfied. I think Cassandra Clare did a wonderful job in telling this story. I loved the characters from start to finish even though I didn’t love every moment or every decision. I cried–sobbed actually–during the Epilogue. And while the last page or two haunted me (I couldn’t sleep that night and had many a conversation with my blogging besties, who always have a way of talking me down from the ledge), I felt that everything Clare wrote was true to Tessa’s character.

Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 Well done. It goes without saying that I love this series, um, especially Will (hubba hubba). The threesome had fantastic depth. I loved the romantic love displayed, but I truly adored the friendship between Jem and Will. Even though I know certain characters pop up in the MI books and in possible future books, this series held more charm for me and I’ll definitely miss it.

The Selective Collective: The Murmurings Casting Call

Welcome to The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.

This week we’re discussing The Murmurings by Carly Anne West.

The Murmurings

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not… (Goodreads)

Hello, creepyville!

This week my job was to come up with casting for The Murmurings. Normally, this is one of my favorite things to do, but this time around, while I had clear mental pictures of each character, I had trouble assigning an actual actor who matched the people in my head. Sandie, the movie-goddess over at Teen Lit Rocks, came to my aid and honestly, she couldn’t have picked better.

Let’s see what you think:


Odeya Rush

Odeya Rush

I think Odeya Rush perfectly captures Sophie. The main thing that stands out in the author’s description is her dark hair (which she has dyed to an almost purplish red).


Troian Bellisario

Troian Bellisario

We only meet Nell in flashbacks and through her own strange, eerie diary. Sophie remembers her clearly, with the same dark hair and that confident beauty older sisters always seem to have (until things got crazy). This is perfectly captured in Troian Bellisario.


Shane Harper

Shane Harper

Evan is a sweet jock who is probably the only person in school not trying to avoid Sophie. He’s described as being athletic and handsome, with a long face. This one really stumped me, but I think the suggestion of Shane Harper was pretty fantastic.

Dr. Keller ( I picked this one! Hooray!)

Bruce Greenwood

Bruce Greenwood

The only person I clearly pictured and could match to a celeb was the creepy Dr. Keller, from the facility that treated Sophie’s sister, Nell. Bruce Greenwood is probably a bit too old to play Keller, but this is exactly how I saw him. Also, this man always plays captains and presidents (have I seen National Treasure 2 too many times? I think yes), why not the head of a questionably creepy facility that without a doubt makes people feel less sane with each passing day?

Be sure to check out my blogging partners in The Selective Collective as they continue to explore The Murmurings:

The Book Addict’s Guide- Roundtable

Gone Pecan- Review

The Grown Up YA-Author Q&A

Teen Lit Rocks- Ghosts All Around Us

Special thanks to Simon Pulse for providing review copies of The Murmurings!

Level 2

Level 2Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next.  Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost–family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place.  Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian–a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life–comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: A rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but them her promises what she wants most–to be with Neil again–if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake..but the salvation of mankind. (Inside cover)

Felicia, who died the day before her eighteenth birthday, exists on Level 2—a whitewashed afterlife somewhere between Heaven and Earth. She is surrounded by girls much like herself. Their days are spent in private chambers where they relive their fondest memories, choosing them the way you’d play a YouTube video.  Felicia’s favorites always include Neil, the boyfriend she left behind, and they fill that quiet, painless void by watching, rewatching and sharing these moments.  All is eerily peaceful until Beckah, a girl from Felicia’s ward, disappears and no one other than Felicia can remember her.

Veddy interesting so far, right?

Enter Julian—smokin hot guy with a questionable rep (and an accent, sold!). Felicia knew him on Earth and let’s just say that J-man does not bring back the best of memories. He’s  reminder of her tainted history, of a time she’d much rather forget by fawning over flashbacks of Neil.  But Julian knows about Beckah. He seems to know about everything, including all of Level 2 and the mysterious hives that house multitudes of people.  Felicia is wary of Julian until he promises he’ll lead her to Neil in exchange for her help.

So, accent? Bad boy? I was hooked. The problem for me is, to tell you much more of the story would let loose some serious spoilers, but I’ll try.

Felicia is asked to join in with rebel forces teamed up against the Morati, the evil angels guarding Level 2. She’s overwhelmed by her desire to find Neil, but the fears trusting Julian again. The driving force behind her cooperation, other than her intoxication with Neil, is her desire to find her friend Beckah again.

I need to stop there so as not to get too crazy confusing and to psyched to overshare. Suffice it to say, I really liked this book. The premise was totally different, intriguing because it deal with the afterlife–something we’ve all wondered about–but so neatly woven through with Felicia’s memories that I feel I knew her in her physical life as well.  I loved Julian (sucker for a bad boy) who brought out her darker side, but I also adored Neil. Felicia struggled so much with viewing herself as damaged good because of past mistakes, but Neil made efforts to show her she wasn’t hopeless.

There are tons of interesting themes here as well. Outside of afterlife and angels, there’s Christian imagery (Felicia meets Neil at church, so much time is spent there)  as well as Greek mythology references. Appelhans weaves these two together in an interesting way without being too forceful about a certain belief system.  The whole thing raises interesting questions about religion in general, and how your waking life plays into your afterlife.

My only complaint is the ending. The story is paced in such a way that I was dying to know certain events Felicia alludes to several time. I wanted to know why she didn’t trust Julian and the events that led her to where she came to live with her Grandmother instead of her parents. And I wanted to know how she died. We find all of this out, but it felt crammed together in a matter of pages. I was sort of overwhelmed with the amount of flashbacks and revelations that I got a bit confused and had to reread some of it.  In the end though, I was still hungry for the next book.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a review copy as part of The Selective Collective feature.


Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves…even if that means betraying her own heart. (Goodreads)

The Recap:

Shine is the third and final book in the Shade trilogy. If you have not read the first two books you can check out my reviews here and here, otherwise, consider yourself warned: Thar be spoilers ahead.

In the last year Aura’s boyfriend, Logan, has died from an overdose, he’s gone from ghost to shade and back again, and at the end of Shift (book 2), he finally passed on.  Aura was heartbroken, something she expressed by making out with Logan’s younger, admittedly adorable brother, and crushing on Zachary, Scottish hottypants deluxe.  Those events, the ones pertaining to Logan moving from ghost to shade, as well as his appearance in flesh and blood at one point, open up a heap of questions and put the DMP hot on both Aura and Zach’s tail. It also really complicated her situation with Zach, who, by the end of the last book, moved from sexy something to boyfriend now that Aura’s dead boyfriend was no longer following her around complicating things.

Whew! That’s a lot to swallow, right?

In the last book, I was sad to see Aura say goodbye to Logan, but it opened up this whole new facet in the series, a chance to understand what makes the DMP so bad, a glimpse into the history of Aura’s parents, and exactly what part she and Zach play in the Shift (for those not in the know, the Shift is an event that took place making it possible for everyone born after a certain time period to see ghosts).

In Shine, Zach is detained by those nasty DMP people and Aura can’t contact him.  She feels he’s in danger (um, yeah) and she’ knows they’re spying on her as well.  Her aunt, ever-patient and supportive, is trying to help to no avail.  Aura attempts in her wonderfully stubborn, often misguided way, to rescue him herself and in the process she unearths some major dirt on the DMP, their motives, and the different people interested in the survival or destruction of both she and Zach.

My Take:

I normally am not a fan of paranormal books, but I love this series, love the characters, love the love story. You guys, I want to draw little hearts around it and keep it forever. Seriously.  One of the best things is that the love triangle presented a truly difficult choice. And yes, I say that knowing that Logan was dead and had absolutely no future with Aura. What they shared was that touching.  In this book, the relationship with Zach reaches all new swoony awesome heights, but to be honest, I actually missed Logan. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted Aura and Zachary to be together, and I wanted her to move on, but I missed that pull in his direction. I was sad to know that he was gone for good.

The drama with the DMP and a few other evil doers was interesting to a point, but ultimately I just wanted to know if the Shift would continue or end.  I needed to know what would happen to Aura and Zach and the Keeleys (Logan’s family), as well as to Aura’s best friend. Smith-Ready answers those questions in a truly satisfying way. Honestly, it was a fitting end and I liked it.  I wasn’t as enraptured as I was with the first two books, but I was really happily content.  You can’t ask for more than that.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5