Tag Archives: Werewolf

Book Reviews
May 4, 2011 posted by Christina

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, Book 4) – Cassandra Clare

“Clary is back in New York and life is good: she’s training to be a Shadowhunter and is finally able to call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price. When Jace inexplicably begins to pull away from her, Clary is forced to acknowledge that she herself has set in motion a chain of events that could lead to the loss of everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever…”

Warning: Some spoilers ahead

Back in August of last year fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series heard the words every reader wanted to hear – the series was going to be continued, extended to another three books. This news was greeted with a collective gasp, cheering and plenty of dancing (or was that just me?). Fast forward to April 2011 and we have the fourth book in the series, City of Fallen Angels.

Beginning this book was like being reunited with old friends and it felt SO GOOD! I had a bit of a Kanye moment once Jace and Clary came into the scene…

Jace to Clary: So are you planning on staying up there-
Me: Jace, Jace, I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but IM JUST SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU GUYS!
*figuratively hugs the characters then lets them get on with the story*

Cough… ahem.

The story picks up 6 weeks after the end of City of Glass, and everyone is adjusting to life after Valentine and life without Max. While Jace has been helping to train up Clary as a Shadowhunter, their relationship has been blooming. So how come Jace suddenly starts to pull away?

Simon on the other hand is still trying to find the balance between a normal life and his new vampire self, not to mention his two girlfriends who don’t realize they’re not Simon’s one and only. When a new vampire comes on the scene and makes Simon a very tempting offer, life becomes very complicated not just for Simon, but for the Shadowhunters as well.

Though it’s the fourth book in the series, most of the conflict from the other books has already been resolved, so we’re starting anew – mostly. At first it felt a little strange since unlike starting any other new book from the beginning, there was no need to adjust to the setting of characters – we already know and love them, but we don’t know what they’re in for yet. There were however a few loose ends left at the end of City of Glass which are picked up in this book, but it’s not toward the middle to end of the book we start to see what the complication for this half of the series will be and where the plot will go.

A fair bit of the book focused on the characters relationships with one another and how they were dealing with things mentally, emotionally and psychologically. There’s plenty of romance, particularly from Jace and Clary (that alley scene *fans self*), but Cassandra Clare definitely pushed the characters this time around, there’s a lot more emotion.

It was frustrating seeing Jace doubt himself and his relationship so much but people don’t heal overnight and Jace definitely has some issues to work out, plus there was that whole possessed by a demon thing, so he’s forgiven.

I loved how gutsy Clary was, I think I forgot just how strong she could be. She showed initiative in her Shadowhunter duty and tried her best to be a better fighter. When Jace was M.I.A. she carried on, she was definitely upset and put out by the situation, but she didn’t let it take over her life. Even in the way she related to Jace, she showed more confidence and has grown up a lot as a character.

The action and suspense at the end of the book really turned up the heat in the story, the fight scenes were very well written. As the story comes to a climax at the end with an epic action sequence, you think it’s all over (seriously, with only about 10 pages to go) then, BAM, cliffhanger! Initially I was struck with disbelief with how it ended but it’s a good cliffhanger and only made me a million times more excited for City of Lost Souls.

After finishing the book, especially for those who have a hard time with the way the book ended I highly recommend you check out the Q&A Cassandra posted on her blog, understanding her reasoning for certain things really cleared a few things up, click here.

This book is hypnotically well written, you get so comfortable reading it, 424 pages just doesn’t seem like enough. It comes complete with all the snark and sarcasm we’ve come to love from Cassandra Clare’s characters.

I recommend giving City of Glass another read before starting this one just to refresh your memory on a few points , that’s only if you have the will power to resist diving straight into this one. I doubt fans of Cassandra Clare will need much encouragement  to check out the latest addition to the series, but for those who haven’t read the books – what on earth are you waiting for??

Fabulous.

Pages: 424
Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★★½

P.S. Ed Westwick a.k.a. Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl lent his voice along with Molly C. Quinn for the audiobook version of COFA. Definitely worth checking out, Ed makes everything sounds 100x sexier.

Teaser Quote: “You’re the first Shadowhunter I’ve ever met.”
“That’s too bad,” said Jace, “since all the others you meet from now on will be a terrible letdown.”

Book Reviews
January 13, 2011 posted by Christina

Sisters Red – Jackson Pearce

“Countless teenage girls have been brutally murdered…and Scarlett and Rosie March know how they died – torn apart by werewolves. For Scarlett, the memories of a similar attack have left not just emotional scars, but physical ones. The sisters fight side by side to save others from the same fate.

But Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend – but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

When we were young we were told the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

She went into the forest to visit her grandmother. Poor granny had already met a wolf though and was eaten right up – whole. When Red encounters the wolf at her grandmother’s house pretending to be human, wearing her clothes, Red is moments away from sharing the same fate as her granny. Luckily, a woodsman swoops in and saves Red and her grandmother….

… but what if he didn’t come in time?

It’s from this thought that Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red is born.

After a brutal attack by a Fenris (a soulless werewolf) when the March sisters – Scarlett and Rosie, were only young, their lives were truly devastated. The attack claimed the life of their beloved Grandmother and left Scarlett heavily scarred and missing her right eye after she took on the monster to protect her younger sister.

Now that they know the truth about what the Fenris are the sisters have dedicated their lives to training, fighting and killing as many of them as they can find.

The hunt has consumed Scarlett ever since the attack, giving each monster a taste of what they did to her and her grandmother. Rosie is a skilled fighter also but craves for something more than blood and revenge. When their childhood friend Silas comes back to town, Rosie feels an undeniable pull, and maybe, just maybe, Silas feels it too.

I was initially looking forward to reading this book but unfortunately I was left a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I would’ve felt differently about the book if it wasn’t for the fact that I haaaaaated Scarlett.

To be fair, Pearce crafted the characters quite skillfully and I truly understood where each of them where coming from, but it doesn’t mean I liked it.

To Scarlett’s credit, she was a fierce fighter who cared deeply for her sister. It just seemed like she probably needed to go into therapy after her attack because in the years after, her scars (Scar-lett, get it?) left her with terrible insecurities as well as a major case of neediness and fear of abandonment by the people still in her life.

Now those definitely aren’t reasons to dislike a character, it was more Scarlett’s never ending need to hunt, and then guilting her sister into doing the same, which made her come off as selfish despite the hunt being for the greater good. I have a feeling Scarlett’s brain would be something like this –

Hunt hunt hunt hunt ROSIE hunt hunt hunt hunt FOOD hunt hunt HATE FENRIS hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt hunt.

It was all she ever wanted, all she ever did, all she ever talked about and heaven forbid you wanted to do anything else.

Since Scarlett saved her life, younger sister Rosie has felt that joining in the hunt alongside Scarlett is her way of paying her back, despite the fact that she struggles to share her sister’s bloodlust. As her feelings for Silas grow (who I liked but his reasoning for liking Rosie in the first place was kind of….strange) , she slowly breaks away and finds that there’s more to life than just hunting, and when it’s something as beautiful as love, it can only be denied for so long.

The blurb on the back of the book gives way too much away (this review includes a non spoiler blurb) which made the plotline predictable at times and kind of drag in between. There’s plenty of bone crunching, blood splashing action during the hunt scenes, particularly in the dramatic ending, but it also felt like it was hunt scene, after hunt scene, after hunt scene.

It would’ve been nice if the Fenris were better explained – why are they a secret? Scarlett and Rosie don’t exactly benefit from no one else knowing about them. Also, why are they only after the pretty, sparkly “dragonfly” type of girls as their meal choices? Do they taste better? It’s kind of an odd message to send – if you’re not super attractive you wont be “eaten” by the big bad wolves.

Ultimately, Sisters Red is a dark and interesting take on a classic fairytale. Though I wasn’t crazy about it, I know there are plenty out there who loved it, for some it’ll be a hit, others, a miss.

Pages: 344
Publication Date: June 2010
Publisher:  Hodder
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★½☆☆

Teaser Quote: “I swiftly grab my hatchet off the ground.

The girls scream. They clutch each other. Their eyes are wide and terrified, streaming with tears.

“It’s gone,” I say. I see them scan my body, look at the scars that cover me and the hatchet in my hand. I don’t know what else to tell them. Their friend is dead.”

Contests
July 16, 2010 posted by Nikki

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater Giveaway

Can’t wait to read Linger, the second novel in Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver series, but you’re out of pocket money? Fear not, loyal yaReaders, we’re here to rescue you from your reading rut.

Like we do every month, as part of our Book of the Month promotion for July, we’ve got a giveaway for you. This time, we’ve only got one copy of Linger to offer, so make sure you get your entry in!

All you need to do is leave your details in the field provided and you’re in. This one is a worldwide contest, and we wish you all the best of luck!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Simply fill out the form below with your name, email, and mailing address.  We randomly draw the winners using random.org.
  • Giveaway is open worldwide.
  • Ends on July 31, 2010.

Author Interview: Lili St Crow
Author Interviews
December 10, 2009 posted by Nikki

Author Interview: Lili St Crow

As you all know, Lili St Crow’s Betrayals (the second book in her Strange Angels series) is our Book of the Month for December. We’re stoked to have Lili with us this month, and after reading this interview, we think you’ll be pretty stoked too. We want to thank her for taking the time to respond to our questions with such honesty and detail. You rock our socks off Lili! Grab a cuppa and sit back and enjoy!

Strange Angels is your first venture into young adult story telling. Was it a conscious decision to write a story for teens, or did the narrative just take that shape?

I actually never thought I would write YA. It never seemed to be an option because of the subject matter and darkness of my usual work. I was quite surprised when I was contacted about my willingness to write in the YA field, it just never occurred to me as something feasible.

I think the YA genre has grown tremendously in the last five to ten years. When I was in that age group, I don’t think certain issues of violence or sexuality would get through the gates, so to speak. There’s been a certain loosening of attitudes and an admission that teenagers do say bad words and they do have hormones, they face dangerous situations and they make choices. I skipped a great deal of YA when I was that age because it just didn’t speak to me—I started reading “adult” books because none of the YAs addressed issues I felt were relevant to my problems. I think teens today have a much greater choice in the genre.

For you, what was the biggest challenge about writing a story for teens as opposed to adults?

Well, they’re not that different. The baseline promise a writer makes is to tell the truth. This makes no difference whether your audience is 14, 40, or 70. Once you have that commitment, you can tackle questions of appropriateness in your own way.

I was very concerned that there would be tension between my editor and me when it came to certain things—rough language, violence, sex. Once I had That Talk with my editor, I was much more sanguine. Before I ever signed the contract I spoke with my editor about my concerns and it was just all out there on the table: I was not going to sugarcoat anything or BS any of my readers, no matter their age. My editor agreed completely and is very supportive.

It seems, at the moment, that in paranormal YA lit, the big thing that draws readers in (especially girls) is the presence of an impossible love triangle. Why did you decide on a love triangle, rather than a single love interest for Dru?

It was just the shape the story took. There are triangles of one sort or another in a lot of my adult work as well.

A lot of paranormal YA—and, let’s face it, a lot of adult fiction—tends to have this narrative that the dangerous, flashy, obsessive partner is desirable and something girls should aim and sigh for. I like to contrast that with the partner who isn’t obsessive or as dangerous. I think a lot of our cultural narratives about romantic love glorify behaviour that would get a restraining order out here in the real world, and contrasting that with a more realistic portrayal of what a healthy relationship looks like is very valuable.

But then again, there are huge conversations going on in our society about gender roles and relationship roles, and the triangles are a good way to explore a lot of those knotty problems. Plus there’s the fantasy factor—in real life, sometimes behaviour a fiction character engages in would be creepy. But the reader has control over how far they enter into the fantasy, and it’s empowering to have that complete control.

I have to ask, are you Team Graves or Team Christophe?

Personally, I’m very Team Graves. He’s not perfect, but his affection and attention are very much preferable to Christophe’s. I mean, Christophe is very old. He remembers certain parts of World War I, for crying out loud. It’s disturbing that he had this relationship with Dru’s mother and is now acting interested in Dru. It’s always faintly skeezy that we have these immortal beings in love with teenagers in our fiction. Part of this goes back to that cultural narrative, and the fantasy.

On the other hand, Christophe is an interesting character because djamphir don’t mature in certain ways. They’re stuck in teenage bodies and dealing with a world that treats them like children nowadays. So it’s not as skeezy as it could be, and Christophe’s growth as a character brings some of these issues into focus.

Artistically and as a writer, I don’t know where Dru is going to “end up”. Why does it have to be a choice between Graves and Christophe? Maybe she will decide to take some time off and figure out what she wants without a boy in the picture. I find it interesting that this isn’t even seen as an option when this sort of thing is discussed.

Do you have the whole Strange Angels series planned out, or are you creating as you write?
I have the big things, the broad strokes, very firmly in my head. But part of creating a work of art is making choices in the moment that might take it in a different direction. It’s a balance, a fine line to be walked between one’s idea of where the story should go and where the story wants to go. Just like life, I guess.

If Dru could click her heels and have three magic wishes, what would she ask for?

I think she would ask for those people she loves to be back with her and whole. She’s had a lot of loss. Dru is an orphan, and that’s a heavy burden to bear. Through most of the series she’s searching for someone to help her, and missing very much the love and stability that her father and grandmother provided, even if both of them were extraordinarily non-traditional.

What about if you could have three magic wishes, what would you ask for?

It’s probably a marker of my age that I don’t know. I think I’d have tremendous difficulty deciding, because any wish I made would have consequences I couldn’t even guess at. I’m not sure I would take advantage of that. I’m profoundly wary of such questions.

Do you have any particular writing habits?

Other than doing it every day, rain or shine? Not really. I’ve trained myself to write no matter what, so my habit just takes the form of doing it every day. Making the commitment to get it done, no matter how or what or why.

When you ventured into the world of YA, why did you chose to write under Lili St Crow rather than Lilith?

That was a decision taken in conjunction with the publisher, to make it very clear that I was writing in a different genre with different expectations.

Can you tell us anything about the next Strange Angels novel?

I’m working on Book 4 right now, and Book 3, Jealousy, isn’t out yet. So I’m kind of torn—which one should I talk about? I suppose it would be fairest if I spoke about Jealousy. The title kind of speaks for itself.

I’ve always seen jealousy as one of the biggest and most insidious problems in high school. There’s this complete lack of proportion and this social pressure, and popularity or even just plain fitting in and finding a peer group is often played as a zero-sum game: the more for you means the less for me. I don’t think our current system does a good job at teaching kids compromise and cooperation as an non-zero-sum game. So when people hit the adult world, there’s this all or nothing habit of interacting with people that’s very hard to break. Some people never grow out of it.

But you wanted to know about the book, right? Well, this is the book where Dru finds out more about how her mother died and who was truly responsible. The traitor to the Order is unmasked, and there is a price to be paid for Dru’s acts of kindness. Dru also learns a great deal more about what it means to be a part of the Real World, the world of all these things that go bump in the night.

Are you working on anything non-Strange Angels related at the moment that you’d like to share with us?

I’m actually incredibly busy right now, with a ton of short stories for anthologies in process and the next Jill Kismet novel (one of my adult series) pretty much wrapped up and sent to the editor to begin the revisions process. I like being busy.

Thanks so much for having me here!