Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Title: Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Book 2 in Jessica’s Guide)
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: January 10, 2012

It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

After pining for this book since I knew there would be a sequel, I am sooooo disappointed that it only took me a DAY to read it! And a schoolday, at that. The characters are back, just as wonderfully naive, loving, and totally frustrating as before. Jessica just begs to be shaken and pointed in the right direction, but when she gets on track, it is SO entertaining to watch the shock of everyone around her when she knows that she has the power. Mindy, of course,rocks! I love her persistence, intuition, and especially her loyalty to Jess as a best friend. Seeing more into Raniero and his past was cool, too.

But most of all, Lucius. Even though we really only see his point of view through his emails (switched from letters to his uncle to emails and notes to Raniero), I love how he is always three steps ahead of the game but still putting Jess first. His love for her is amazing, and I love reading about them. Even though Jess frustrated me in the beginning because of the DEEP depression she was in, everything makes a lot more sense as the murder mystery is solved, and the different perspectives come together.

Having the different points of view, not just Jessica’s and Lucius’ letters, was an enjoyable change from the first book. I loved the insight into each character’s knowledge, especially Mindy’s, but also Jess’s once she starts to wake up. It gave the book a well-rounded feel to it, which made it all the more entertaining to read while the character figured out what the reader has already solved.

One thing that was a little strange was the fact that a lot of time had passed, but because of Jess’s failures in the beginning, it didn’t really seem like it. It was difficult to connect the young woman who stood up to her true love before he attempted to assassinate her with the princess who was cowed by the Elders and the council. The other points of view helped, and so did her transformation and her thoughts during her growth as a princess, but if it weren’t for the fact that the wedding (WHICH WAS AMAZING!!!!) is posted on Ms. Fantaskey’s website, I wouldn’t have realized just how much time has passed. If you haven’t read the wedding yet, and you’ve read the first book, then you should really get on that – it is possibly the best part of the entire series.

Speaking of the entire series, I really want there to be a third book. I don’t know why, but I thought Jess was pregnant in this book – I was wrong. However, I’d really like to see how that would play out with another conflict in a third installment to their story. I LOVE Jess and Lucius together, and Mindy and Raniero as well. If there was another continuation of the series, I would definitely support that!

~Yours Truly

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Kissing Shakespeare

Title: Kissing Shakespeare
Author: Pamela Mingle
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Netgalley Ebook ARC

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.
Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.
Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but I know I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the characters. Miranda, with her predicament, and seemingly no one who cares, was just so easy to understand. She didn’t try to pretend that everything was well and good – she freaked out, and I can’t blame her. I mean, imagine just finishing the school play, but feeling terrible, and then suddenly you’re kidnapped and in a completely different time period being told, not asked, to sleep with a man or never go back home. I mean, come on!

After she got on board with the plot, though, I really enjoyed the plot. I liked the historical fiction part of it, and how I learned a bit more about history with the Protestant Reformation and all the persecuted Catholics. The intrigue with the murder plots and possibility of a changed future kept my interest in favor of Miranda’s success, even as she begins to enjoy her role – and the person she shares it with. The romantic aspect of the book was great, too – and so sad, but sweet at the same time.

Also, the acting part of the book was new – it’s not everyday that you read a book about a drama major; usually it’s all vampires and werewolves and shapeshifters or something paranormal. The fact that Stephen needed a normal girl to save Shakespeare was unique, a fact that I greatly appreciate.

I definitely recommend this book – it was a fun, fast read that I think a lot of people can enjoy.

~Yours Truly

**Note: Due to the “seduction” part of the book, even though it’s not explicit, I’d only recommend the book to 13 and up.

City of Lost Souls

Title: City of Lost Souls(Book 5 in The Mortal Instruments)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: May 8, 2012

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?
Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.
And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

My reaction, overall to this book: SQUEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!

Haha yes, this book was tense. It was suspenseful. I was nerve-wracked just wondering what on earth could happen, what in the universe could the characters be planning, or thinking, or even hoping could possibly result from their actions. And their behavior was WEIRD. I mean, they-weren’t-even-remotely-acting-like-they-should-be-so-that-this-book-turns-out-well wierd. I literally had to restrain myself from screaming at the book, I was so frustrated.

It wasn’t just frustrating though. No, it was also heart-wrenching. I mean, I was on the verge of tears, and wondering how some of the characters weren’t! My love for the characters and wanting everyone to be happy is a terrible thing – weeping while reading is not fun, let me tell you; although, it definitely portrays the depth of my interest in the book and the well-being of the people inside of it. And then the ending? Not only am I VERY frustrated because I NEED to know how this ends!!!, but I’m also EXTREMELY upset. There had better be some MAJOR changes in the next book to make me happy! And, SPOILER ALERT FOR THE NEXT BOOK:

 

A major character dies – I MUST know! It MUST not be Jace! I love everyone – I WILL be bawling my eyes out!

 

SPOILER OVER. So yeah, I really do recommend this book, despite the frustrations. But, as I said in my review of City of Fallen Angels, I also recommend reading them one after the other, after the next book comes out, because of all the suspense and tension and FREAKING OUT over the endings! Alright then. Happy reading!

~Yours Truly

**Note: As much as I love this series, I’d suggest it to teenagers, no one younger.

City of Fallen Angels

Title: City of Fallen Angels (Book 1 in The Mortal Instruments)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: April 5, 2011

The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most important of all—Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.
When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

After City of Glass, the levels of intrigue seem to go down, at least on a political scale. However, there is still the aftermath of the war to deal with, and personal scandals? Off the charts. All of the romantic relationships, and friendships, too, are further developed in this book, more than anything else. Simon and his “non-exclusivity” (Boy, that was just waiting to come back and bite him!) had me nervous for him – the girls he deals with are definitely NOT average. I mean, neither is he, but still. Then there’s Alec and Magnus. Geez, but I love them. They’re so, well, CUTE together. I can just picture them, and their relationship, so easily, even though they’re away for the first half of the book. The second half really digs into Alec’s feelings, and makes me very frustrated with him. And sort of with Magnus, too. But seriously, they’re a great couple. Then there’s Jordan. Honestly, I really like him. I hope he gets his girl. And anything else I say will probably be too spoilery, so I’ll stop there.

Clary and Jace. I mean, I think it speaks for itself, but I had to put them in a separate paragraph. I seriously LOVE them together. I mean, they were made for each other (NOT literally), and after all they’ve been through, I would have killed them if they broke up. And with all the issues in this book that they were going through, especially Jace with his I’ve-just-come-back-from-the-dead problems, I got seriously scared. There are a bunch of steamy scenes, and also some sweet ones. My favorite parts of this series as a whole are when Jace breaks down and is tender and honest with Clary. (I also love the parts where she’s angry and loses her temper at him – like in the first book with the slap across the face.) This section of their story definitely tests their relationship.

The complications in the romances are definitely aided by the plot. The murders of Shadowhunters leads to the involvement of Camille, which hurts Alec and Magnus, as well as distracts Simon. And let me just say that I don’t appreciate it. Jace’s issues with being reborn also have some issues – the main problem for him and Clary, and basically the whole reason for the ending of the book. And Jordan’s a whole ‘nother issue, but I still like him.

So. The ending. I just have to say, that it was TORTURE waiting for the fifth book to come out after this ending. Even though I adore this series, and I highly recommend it, I also suggest that you read them all at once, even if it means waiting for the 6th book, not just the fifth. Trust me, the agony of waiting sucks. And then after you finally get your hands on a copy of the one book, you have at least another entire YEAR to go until the last one. So yes. I – as much as I hate to say it – suggest waiting. Those of you who have already read this book/series will understand what I’m talking about.

~Yours Truly

**Note: As much as I love this series, I’d suggest it to teenagers, no one younger.

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 13

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books every week. It had been too time-consuming for a while, but she’s started it back up again. Basically, if you blog about books, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

Blogging Question: How do you handle the writing of a negative review?

I tend to just be honest, but not brutally honest. If I actually despise a book, I’ll say that I really didn’t like it, and I’ll say why. I’ll say that the writing was too choppy, or that it really didn’t flow, or the characters had no depth, or something along those lines. However, I do always try to find at least one thing about the book that I did enjoy, something that made me keep reading. For example, if all of the above were true, maybe the plot was interesting and kept me on my toes, waiting to see what would happen next, even if it was told to me in a voiceless book. Even one positive is better than none, and if anyone close to an author, or the author him/herself is reading the review, I don’t want to hurt their feelings or discourage anyone from picking the book up who might actually enjoy it.

Here’s the thing: I’m only one reader. I have my opinion, and others have theirs. I have read books that have gotten rave reviews and hated it. I have also loved books that I’ve been told stunk. It’s similar to a movie – the critics may like/hate a film, but the public might just feel the opposite. So I try to keep an open mind, and if something bothers me, I mention it. But I also try not to go into horrifying, blistering detail.

Teaser Tuesday: 13

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“‘If you’re tired, we could go back to the Institute,’ she said in a half whisper. ‘Take a nap. We haven’t slept together in the same bed since – since Idris.'”

~page 76 in City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (Book 4 of The Mortal Instruments)

City of Glass

Title: City of Glass (Book 3 in The Mortal Instruments)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books – Simon & Schuster
Release Date: March 29, 2009

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

I can’t believe that I actually only started rereading this book literally this morning when I borrowed it from my friend. I mean, it helped that I didn’t have any homework, but still! That just goes to show how great this book was – everything flowed really easily, and I could not WAIT to turn the page so that I could, er, rediscover? what happened next. Even though I have read the book before, it was a while ago, and rereading has refreshed everything and given me new insight to details that I may have missed my first time around.

Clary’s rune talents are definitely explored more in this adventure, as well as Simon’s vampiric powers. The Daylighter thing was definitely interesting, especially since it was only just barely introduced in the last book. And him and Clary’s relationship is totally not awkward, which just endears Simon to me. He’s always loving, caring, and SO nice. If he was real, I’d date him over Jace any day! Although I’d have some pretty heavy competition.

Other relationships are really put to the test in this book, too. Alec and Magnus are finally able to sort things out, though not exactly directly – circumstances that I can’t help but be grateful for pretty much shove them together. There are tons of other romantic relationships going on – the Luke and Jocelyn thing, the Clary and Jace thing (OMG that was insane!), and the Sebastian thing. There were familial relationships, especially the weird/crazy/unhealthy ties between Valentine, Jace, and Clary. The Lightwoods, and Jace, have some series things to work out, but not between themselves, more like with Sebastian. I almost cried because of what happened to them. And of course, there’s Clary and her mother to finally hash out the whole I’ve-been-a-Shadowhunter-and-you-stole-my-memories thing. Every little side adventure, every little detail, really contributes to the story, though, and I really enjoyed seeing the descriptions that reminded me of what would happen that totally flew over my head during my first reading of the books.

Can’t wait to reread City of Fallen Angels! I highly recommend this series!

~Yours Truly

**Note: As much as I love this series, I’d suggest it to teenagers, no one younger.