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The Week in Review

What a crazy week…

On Monday I remembered how not fun change can be, at least at first.  We have a bunch of staff changes at work and, while my position keeps me removed from the “extra work” of training most new employees, we’re all a little extra stressed out.  Personalities have yet to gel and new schedules have yet to be adapted to.  We’ll get there, but sometimes the trip just isn’t that much fun.

On Tuesday I visited my 85 1/2-year-old grandpa in the hospital in Columbus, which is 2 hours from me.  He was admitted last Friday for respiratory distress (he has congestive heart failure) and initially had been given a pretty grave prognosis.  I stayed for a little over 3 hours and we sat and talked the entire time, which meant so much to me.  Grandpa told me lots of family stories–including some I’d never heard before–particularly about my grandma, who passed away when I was eight.  It was a long evening (I had to be at work at 7:30am the next morning), but so so so worth it to spend some quality time with my gpa and see him starting to feel better.

On Wednesday Grandpa was released from the hospital.  Yay, so happy!  He’s now in a residential physical therapy program at a nursing home.  While he’s not happy about being there for the next two weeks, I’m so glad he decided to go.

On Thursday my boss reaffirmed her awesomeness.  I have been lucky enough to have 4 bosses over the years who are extraordinary leaders.  She is one of the four.

On Friday I was reminded just how unpleasant spring allergies in the Miami Valley can be.  Blech.  New Mexico is calling my name!

On Saturday, I enjoyed a nice caffeine/sugar high (courtesy of our practice owner and Bill’s Donuts).  After work I took a much-needed, very long nap to celebrate the end of the week.

So, how was your week?

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April Books (5)

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but atleast she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever and even worse, he’s started spending time with Nora’s arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Path hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feeling that he’s hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperatly searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts.

Oh lordy, where to begin? See I have this thing about writing negative reviews. I just feel rotten…like I’m backstabbing the author. I know they worked hard on the book and it’s their baby and…and…and.

Here it goes…

Cons:
~I understand that most YA books are written to a 4th grade reading level (give or take). That said, Ms. Fitzpatrick seems to be writing for your average 4-year-old. Seriously.
~I guess because your average 4-year-old is entertained by detailed descriptions of how to make spaghetti in the microwave, and what shoes go with what outfit, and how to apply make-up in a manner that hides dark circles, Ms. Fitzpatrick includes them.
~But then you get to the end of the book where the angel lineage is explained and Ms. Fitzpatrick goes all whack-a-doozy on us. Just how were we supposed to keep that all straight? Who’s related to whom, who’s baby-daddy disowned them, who’s didn’t, blah, blah, blah. I was going a little cross-eyed trying to keep it all straight. Not because it was THAT difficult to understand, but rather because it really didn’t add up to the rest of the story.
~Besides constantly thinking about making out, Nora’s mental age is pretty close to the targeted reading age. Actually, I might have to take that back–I’ve known a few 4-year-old girls who were all about making out with boys.
~The only times Nora goes to the library are when she’s about to be attacked in the dark. I’m not kidding, it’s literally every time. You’d think she’s learn. I think even a 4-year-old could put two-and-two together.
~Nora’s BFF Vee is a major pet peeve of mine. Not her personality (which, believe it or not, actually kind of works for me), but the whole fat issue. So not cool to keep bringing it up, Becca. In the last book, you should give her a smokin’ hot, intelligent, non-homicidal boyfriend to make it up to her. Also, everyone in the book should compliment her at some point.
~After reading Hush, Hush, I so wanted to like Patch. But he seemed like such a pushover in this book. Bad boy + pushover does not equal hotness. And then he started invading Nora’s dreams and I’m sorry but that’s just creepy.
~Nora really needs to learn some boundaries when it comes to sneaking around at night. Breaking into people’s houses isn’t cool. And someone should give that girl some mace for her birthday!
~Speaking of parental duties, where the heck is Nora’s mom? It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, but after 17 years of parenthood, you’d think she could keep better track of her kid.
~Paragraphs like this: “I hung up and did a quick inventory of my closet. I decided on a pale pink cami, a miniskirt, opaque tights, and ballet flats. I sprayed perfume in the air and walked through it for a light, grapefruity scent. In the back of my mind, I wondered why I was spending the time to clean up for Scott. He was going nowhere in life, we had nothing in common, and most of our brief conversations included flipping insults at each other. Not only that, but Patch had told me to say away from him. And that’s when it hit me. Chanced were, I was drawn to Scott because of some deep-rooted psychological reason involving defiance and revenge. And it all pointed back to Patch.”

Pros:
~If I had liked this book for anything more than mild entertainment, I would have been PISSED OFF at the cliffhanger ending. As it was? I said, “Oh noes, she didn’t!” and then went to go find myself some lunch.
~After finishing Crescendo (and finding some lunch), I read a few of the Goodreads reviews and laughed more than I have in a month. Dude, funny shiznit! It’s worth reading the book just to enjoy the utter hilarity of the reviews!
~Yes, I will be reading the final installment. Why? Hey, it’s entertaining and will make good beach reading. And then I can read snarky reviews and laugh some more.

 

If I Stay: a novel by Gayle Foreman

Goodreads’ synopsis:

In a single moment, everythingchanges. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

If I Stay is a heartfelt, genuine exploration of family, relationships, music, life, death, and love. Since I am admittedly uncomfortable with the subject of death, particularly unexpected deaths, I began If I Stay a little hesitantly. My trepidation , however, slowly eased as Mia’s story unfolded.

One of the things I loved most about this book was Gayle Forman’s characters. They are written so exquisitely, I felt as if I knew them personally by the last page. Some spoke to me so distinctly as to remind me of my own nearest and dearest.

Examples:

We met…Dad at the birthing center, which was nothing like a doctor’s office. It was the ground floor of a house, the inside decked out with beds and Jacuzzi tubs, the medical equipment discreetly tucked away. The hippie midwife led Mom inside and Dad asked me if I wanted to come, too.” [My mom is a midwife who runs a birth center on the ground floor of her house…and she was a bit of a hippie back in the day.]

“…Mom was ferociously protective of the people she loved, so much that she took insults upon them personally. Her friends sometimes called her Mama Bear for this reason.” [This is totally my friend Terra.]

“…She was another tough-as-nails, tender-as-kittens, feminist bitch.” [If someone described ME this way, I would be honored.]

~

Sure, If I Stay is a tearjerker–that’s a given. But it’s so much more. I’ll definitely be re-reading it and would love to add a copy to my bookshelf–which is the ultimate compliment I can extend to any book.

 

The Dead Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2) by Carrie Ryan

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

As another reviewer put it, The Dead Tossed Waves completely owned me. All I can say is thank God I started it on a Saturday, because I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it straight through in one sitting. It’s been a while since a book has done that to me! I thoroughly enjoyed this one and cannot wait to bring my requested copy of The Dark and Hollow Places home from the library.

 

Need (Need #1) by Carrie Jones

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.

She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear.

How about a little pixie urban fantasy? Keep in mind that we’re talking about the nasty, blood-sucking kind of pixies here, not cute little Tinkerbell pixies. In genre and style, Carrie Jones reminds me a little of Holly Black. However, the characters and plot have more in common with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, though the comparison should end there in my opinion. While I won’t rave about Need, it was a quick, enjoyable read.

My overall impressions:

Pros:
~Glitter
~Hunky werewolf hotness (a la Jacob Black)
~Girl with a conscience crusading against the world’s evil
~Spunky girl-power grandma
~Nasty pixies with silver eyes and pointy teeth who want to either poison you with their kiss or suck your blood

Cons:
~Predictable plot
~Silly inaccuracies (i.e. Ian is described as being tall with LONG legs, yet in the next sentence it’s noted that he’s the point guard on the basketball team.)
~Character inconsistencies (i.e. Nick goes all serious and decides that he and Zara must proactively leave the relative safety of the house to hunt the pixies down. Yet as soon as they get in the scary woods–where the pixies hide out–they abandon all pretense of pixie-hunting in favor of a makeout session. WTF!?)
~The world’s most devoted puppy dog. It would make me feel claustrophobic more than turn me on.  Just sayin’. 

It’s time for me to genre hop for a bit, as I’m getting a little burnt out on the YA fantasy stuff. But when I come back I’m looking forward to picking up the sequel, Captivate.

 

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom #1) by Devon Monk

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy-tale, hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o, sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got.

Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user – maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they Offload the cost onto innocents. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster – and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.

Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magic Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.

Now Allie’s out for the truth – and must call upon forces that will challenge everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine … and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.

I found Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom books by accident via one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, Ilona Andrews. I’m head-over-heels in love with Kate Daniels, Ilona’s strong female protagonist, and I was hoping for a similarly fun, adventurous character to tide me through until the next Kate Daniels book came out. (I know, it’s not really fair to evaluate one book/character against another, but I can’t help myself!)

While Allie doesn’t compare to Kate in terms of character development and all-round awesomeness, Devon’s world building is intriguing and nicely done. In my opinion, it’s the best part of the story. Allie has some trademark expletives–“good loves” and “sweet hells”–that quickly go from quirky to annoying. And her memory loss, while essential to the plot, became frustrating at times.

Overall, Magic to the Bone was a fun, light read but didn’t have that “can’t put it down” quality I’m always searching for in a book.

My very part-time second job pretty much rocks.  I am a Testing Technician for the USEF’s Equine Drugs & Medications Program.  In a nutshell, I am part of a 4-person team comprised of 3 Testing Technicians and 1 Veterinarian which is sent to USEF- and AQHA-sanctioned horse shows to perform random drug testing of the contestants.  (The horses, not the people!)  Basically, I get paid to hang out at a horse show (with horses and horse people) for a day.

Today we were sent by the AQHA to test at a Quarter Horse show about 45 minutes from my house.  While there, I saw a miracle.  I kid you not, this was a bona-fide miracle.  Hippotherapy in action and at its very best.

~

The gist of the back-story goes like this:

Once upon a time, a family was very involved in AQHA Barrel Racing.  The son was very talented and had won several national titles.  Life was bright for him.  Then, one day, he was severely injured in a car accident.  He suffered brain damage and was confined to a wheelchair.

~

I’m a little shady on some of the finer details, like how much time passed between the accident and present day.  But–about a month ago–this kid got back in the saddle.  A remarkable achievement in and of itself, in the past 30 days he has progressed to the point of being able to compete in today’s show.  Granted, he walked and trotted his barrel patterns, which competitors typically gallop (it’s a timed event in which the fastest fault-free run wins).

Typical barrel racing.

Barrel racing modified for riders with disabilities (walk/trot).

 This kid rode his own horse (a trustworthy old soul worth his/her weight in gold) without assistance.  He was in the saddle for at least an hour (that I saw), which is an impressive amount of time for anyone challenged with (I’m assuming) muscle strength and balance issues.  His mom mentioned that since he’s been riding his physical therapist has been amazed by his progress in other areas, including his ability to walk (with support)–something he wasn’t able to do before he got back in the saddle.  Most of all, he seemed truly happy and outgoing.

And so I was reminded yet again of the amazing healing power of the horse.

Book Giveaway

YA author Susane Colasanti has a book giveaway going on over at her blog

Make sure to check out her post on Screen-Free Week 2011, too!

 

Screen-Free Week 2011

Author Devon Monk is giving away a copy of Magic to the Bone, a copy of Magic on the Hunt (which was released yesterday), and a knitted gargoyle named Stone who is absolutely adorable! 

Author Jackie Kessler is giving away a copy each of her books Hunger and Rage, and a signed poster of Rage.

Visit The Deadline Dames to enter!

Stone

March Books (8)

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out – orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive ‘ship of fools’. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn’t have an act – in fact, she couldn’t even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Water for Elephants starts out a little slow, but quickly builds into a great story. I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to seeing the movie later this month!
~

Movie news: The movie will be out in theaters 4.22.11 and stars Robert Pattinson as Jacob and Reese Witherspoon as Marlena.

~

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps.  The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

See my review here.

~

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.
To those that say The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye (including Stephen Chbosky), I ask why, then, did I enjoy it so much? I felt so cheated after reading The Catcher in the Rye–I just didn’t get it. Not so with Perks. I loved it & I highly recommend reading it to just about everyone! It has all the makings of a classic piece of literature.
~

Movie news: According to IMDB, the movie is expected to be released in 2012.  Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay and will be directing the movie.  Emma Watson (as Sam) and Logan Lerman (as Charlie) will star.

~

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Goodreads’ synopsis:

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

 Unearthly is a captivating, well-written story featuring intriguing angel mythology, strong heroines, a healthy romantic relationship, and a natural mother-daughter bond. The next book in the series, Hallowed, is due out Jan. ’12 and it’s already on my TBR list!

Regarding the angel mythology, I won’t discuss it enough to give spoilers, but I love glory, I found the wing color aspect unique, and I think the Black Wings are fascinating.

One of my favorite quotes from the book comes after a less than stellar prom night: “I won’t be that girl who lets the guy treat her like crap and still fawns all over him.”

I highly recommend Unearthly–you won’t be able to put it down!

~

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Jay Asher’s brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative — alternating between the girl s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening — this honest, poignant story reveals how other people’s actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual’s faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind!

A wonderfully eye-opening novel, Thirteen Reasons Why is all about how our actions–and inactions–affect others. The prose is often poetic, the messages are clear without coming off as “preachy”, and the characters will draw you in. I highly recommend this book!  That said, it is an emotionally draining read.

~

Movie news: Universal bought the rights to the movie (expected out in 2012), and Selena Gomez has been cast as Hannah Baker.

~

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Goodreads’ synopsis:

  There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce—and goes out of his way to make that very clear—she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Meh. I have to admit, Fallen wasn’t that great for me. It reminded me a lot of Marked (House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast). Same “mildly-popular-and-pretty-high-school-chick-goes-to-boarding-school-and-meets-lots-of-supernatural-hotties” theme. That said, there were enough mildly intriguing loose ends at the end of the book that I might pick up the sequel (Torment) someday, just to find out what happens.

~

Movie news: According to Reelz, Disney has optioned the rights to a Fallen movie.

~

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Goodreads’ synopsis:

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Truth #1: I don’t do zombies. NO zombie books, no zombie movies.

Truth #2: As a general rule, I stear clear of the horror genre.

Truth #3: I read the majority of this book late at night while home alone. Bad idea.

Truth #4: In spite of truths 1-3, LOVED IT!

Carrie Ryan is amazing. She’s written a book that’s a mash-up of YA fantasy, horror, futuristic dystopia, romance, and adventure. I’ve read a few reviews that criticize Ryan for genre jumping, but for me it just worked. The writing is simple and elegant, the characters are relatable, and the story is just plain gripping. I love the main character, Mary. Love her curiosity, her tenaciousness, her drive, her ability to love. Yes, she is a flawed character, and she goes a little insane toward the end of the book, but in my mind that makes her that much more likeable.

My one complaint with FoHaT is that the end is a bit abrupt. Not even really a cliffhanger. I mean, it is a clifhanger of sorts, but that wasn’t my gripe with it. I feel like the end only answered 1 of the story’s major questions. There are SO many more that went unanswered.

Questions like:
What kind of secret knowledge did the Sisters possess?
What was in the other rooms in the wine cellar?
Where did the zombies originally come from?
Why was Gabrielle the fast one?
Who were the past fast ones?
Did Mary consummate her relationship with either Harry or Travis?

BTW, I think the hardback cover (a downcast Mary in front of a misty, gray forest) is genuis. Not a huge fan of the paperback cover, which is a photo of “Mary” (NOT the way I had imagined her–what’s with the makeup?) behind a “fence” of tree branches. And the UK/Australian cover (red flower on black background) is just WAAAY too Twilight-esq for my taste. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is not Twilight, and that’s a good thing.

~

Movie news: Seven Star Pictures has picked up the movie rights and there is a rumor flying around that an un-named star has been cast as Mary. 

~

TMI #3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads’ synopsis:

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 Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters 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 new found powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

It’s a rare thing when I find a series that makes me fall more in love with the characters and story with each consecutive book. City of Glass accomplished it…I am offically head over heals for CC (who is a genius story-teller) and TMI! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, what are you waiting for? Seriously, go get a copy of City of Bones today!

[**Spoiler Alert**]

I particularly loved the messages of this final book. Standing up for what you believe in? Check. Knowing that one person (you) can make a difference? Check. Falling in love with the boy who makes you feel like a strong woman? Check. The RIGHT kind of love makes you stronger rather than weaker? Check. It’s OK for boys to cry? Check. Your real parent(s) can be whoever loves you the most, not necessarily whoever’s genes you carry? Check. And so on…

As much as I love a certain YA novel/series that shall not be named (because I’m NOT comparing it to TMI), there are some disturbing themes and relationships in that particular story. TMI, on the other hand, is a series I could hand my daughter or son without reservations.

~

Movie news: A movie adaptation of City of Bones (TMI #1) is on its way and we can look for it sometime next year.  Lily Collins has been cast as Clary and casting for Jace just closed, though no one has been named to play his character yet.  Cassandra Clare posts updates on her website as she gets them.

 

The Mortal Instruments IV: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. 

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 4.5.11 (tomorrow!!).  Cassandra Clare is brilliant and TMI has quickly become my new favorite YA fantasy series!

Chronicles of the Warlands #4: Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan
All is not well in Xy. There is a faction of nobles who are plotting against the Queen and her barbarian warlord. As cultures clash and tempers flare, Heath and the fierce Plains warrior woman Atira of the Bear must come together to fight the conspiracy… and to search their hearts for something deeper than raw passion.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 5.3.11.  My only beef with Elizabeth Vaughan is her insistance on keeping her day job.  See, if she devoted all of her time to writing, then I’d have more of her fabulous books to read.  Selfish of me, I know.

Kate Daniels #5: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn’t easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn’t bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 5.31.11.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  I’ve been going through Ilona Andrews withdrawl for way too long now!

Wolves of Mercy Falls #3: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 7.12.11.  The only way to describe Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is “gorgeous prose”.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I’m ready to fight.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 8.23.11.  I’m curious to see how this second installment of the Lorien Legacies stacks up to the first (I Am Number Four).

Matched Trilogy #2: Crossed by Ally Condie

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 11.1.11.  If you’ve read Matched, you know the cover of Crossed says it all.

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Others:

Demon Trappers #2: Soul Thief by Jana Oliver (TBR: 9.2.11)*

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*Has anyone seen a cover or reviews of Soul Thief?  I couldn’t find much about it…