This review is based an advanced reader’s copy given to me by Macteen Books as part of the Fierce Reads Street Team in exchange for an honest review and promotion. This in no way had any influence on my review.
Summer, here boys, price and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!
Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, site her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?
When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.
Gemma’s plan is working (she’s finding it hard to resist Josh), but she’s finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?
Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.
I had no idea Katie Finn was Morgan Matson when I first got this book. I was SO excited, and am still VERY excited to be a part of the Fierce Reads Tour. Fierce Reads has a ton of amazing authors like Jessica Brody and Leigh Bardugo and Ava Dellaira and all kinds of authors. Being a part of their team has been awesome so far, and I was glad to be a part of it. When I became part of Katie Finn’s team, I was like, okay, I don’t know her, but that’s okay because I’m always up for learning about new authors.
I felt sort of silly when I went to go download my review copy and realized that she was Morgan Matson, one of my favorite authors ever. I urged my computer to download faster, and then cuddled up with my Nook to read this book.
I read it in about 2 hours. I sped through it so fast, because it was so much fun! It was really awesome to see a different writing side to Morgan. As Morgan, she writes sort of serious, dramatic YA, and as Katie Finn, it was a lot of fun, laughs, sort of unbelievable hijinks and I really truly enjoyed it. Whenever summer hits, I’m always looking for some good contemporary books to read, something involving road trips or trips to the beach and Broken Hearts is absolutely perfect in that.
Gemma is a real relatable character. She makes a mistake when she is younger, and she’s constantly feeling guilty about it. When she arrives to spend the summer with her father, and runs into the best friend she had so many years ago, the one she wronged, she genuinely wants to make things better. Of course, she goes about the wrong way, but she really is a genuine person and I think she’s hurt by her ex-boyfriend and just kind of making the mistakes that people make sometimes when they don’t quite know what to do with themselves. Plus, she makes some silly mistakes along the way too, and it makes me laugh. She gets herself into some of the craziest situations and I found myself laughing out loud at many of the parts.
I also love Josh. Josh is the brother of the girl Hallie that Gemma had wronged so many years before, and she has a vague memory of him, but when she returns, of course he’s totally cute and totally sweet, and crush-worthy. I totally developed a crush on him. Despite the train wreck of silliness that Gemma can sometimes be, he obviously cares a lot about her, and they are very cute together. Its a fun, summer romance and I love being along for that ride.
Getting down to it, without spoiling the book…its just fun. Its a really fun book. This is a perfect summer time read because its got the pool parties and the ice cream and the summer dates and all of that, the summer fun and, of course, the summer drama. I wanted to be a part of that world, and it reminded me of the summers I used to have before having jobs and responsibilities. It was juicy and racy and just straight up fun. I found myself laughing over and over and over again.
I will say this too, I wasn’t aware that it was a trilogy at first, because normally with contemporary, there is very little times, a sequel. So when the book ended, I was like “WHAT!” I never knew a contemporary book could leave me with such a delicious and infuriating cliffhanger. I wanted to throw the book across the room because I HAD to know what happened next. I turned the page and saw that there would be more books and felt a slight sense of relief that I would eventually find out what happened next, but I’m not a patient girl and I’m already ready for it!
All in all, fun book, full of everything you’d want in a perfect summer book…or even a book that you’re reading in winter, while dreaming of summer. It has the friendship and romance and pool parties and delicious treats and the rule breaking and all of that. Its a feel good, fun book and its one that I so HIGHLY recommend.
Pre-warning: there are NO City of Heavenly Fire spoilers in this post!
This past Tuesday, shop May 27th was the day that City of Heavenly Fire hit bookshelves. It is the very last book of The Mortal Instruments series. While we are going to be in the world of Shadowhunters for years to come, sale what with The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours series coming to bookshelves, this series is the one that started it all. I will get to read more of Shadowhunters and the Shadow World but it was bittersweet to say goodbye to Clary, Jace and the rest in this series. If you haven’t had a chance, you can check out my spoiler free review here, or my spoiler filled vlog here.
I haven’t been this sad of a series ending since the day that I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and that’s because I think the Mortal Instruments come in at a close second to the Harry Potter series, in what they mean to me and what they have done for me. The Mortal Instruments will NEVER touch Harry Potter for me, but Harry Potter has been in my life since I was 10 years old so…I highly doubt anything will ever be as important as that book series.
But the Mortal Instruments. I first picked up the books about four years ago. Four years ago, my life was….difficult. Not really hard. I have always been fairly lucky in the life that I’ve had, even during the hard times, even during the struggles. But four years ago, I went through something that was pretty hard for me. My boyfriend and I both went through something hard, and instead of turning to each other, we turned against each other. We stopped showing affection to each other, we were fighting all the time, it was awful. We broke up. And what was the worst about it was…I not only had the task of dealing with the heartbreak but no one understood, really, why it was more than just a normal heartbreak. I was dealing with so many emotions. My boyfriend had gone on tour with his band, so he was well distracted but I was at home, stuck in my own thoughts, miserable.
So what do I do when I’m miserable?
Head to a bookstore, of course. I went on a trip to Borders. (Oh Borders, how I miss you). I needed to get out of the house, I needed a distraction, to get out of my own head. Back then, I wasn’t a blogger so I wasn’t as involved with the book world as I am now. Now I go into a bookstore and I recognize so many titles that I despair that I can only purchase one or two. Back then, I had to rely on just looking on titles and things like that. I was wandering the Young adult section and the title “City of Bones” jumped out at me. I read the back, decided that I liked it well enough and purchased it. I went home that night, and dove into it for the first time.
The next time, I was at the bookstore and purchasing City of Ashes. I went back the VERY next day to purchase City of Glass. I read the snippet of Clockwork Angel at the end, and waiting eagerly for it to come out a couple months later. I waited patiently for the release of Fallen Angels the next year, and met her for the very first time. The speed in which this books came crashing into my life and stayed there permanently is incredible and it still kind of blows my mind. Only one book series had done that since then, and still not with the way that this series did.
I loved the story, I loved how it weaved the familiar world that we know with this beautiful fantasy world. I wanted to be a Shadowhunter. I love tattoos and the fact that they could bring you strength and agility and things like that blew my mind. I loved the weapons and the Institute. I loved Idris and this country tucked away from everything else. Everything about this world was fantastic to me. There was romance and action and lots of humor and sarcasm. I fell in love with all the characters.
But I especially fell in love with two.
First off, I love Alec Lightwood. The person that Alec Lightwood is…unsure and scared, afraid to be the person that he is, afraid to share the emotions buried deep within him…it all felt so familiar. He felt like the most real character in the books. I know people didn’t like him at first, because of the way he treated Clary, and the obsession he had with Jace but I thought he was real and raw and genuine. His story reached out to me and watching him grow and change over the course of six books.
And then there was Jace Wayland Morgenstern Herondale Lightwood, whatever you want to call him. I don’t know if I would have fallen in love with as much as I did as a fictional boyfriend and a fictional character if I wasn’t in the middle of a breakup with my boyfriend. But I loved everything about him. I loved that he was this badass warrior, and that he was raised to not believe in love and Clary was changing that in him, and that he said the sweetest things and that was also kind of crazy. Come on, let’s think about…going into Hunter’s Moon and picking fights with werewolves? That’s kind of crazy. He’s been one of my absolute favorite characters since then, and definitely my number one fictional crush.
But he was also kind of my escape, from the misery that I was feeling at the time. It made me think that boys could say still say cute things, even when they mess up, and I lost myself in the romance of Jace and Clary. It kept me sane. I devoured those books and they kept me from wallowing in even more misery that I already was. I wouldn’t say they saved my life, because I had never considered that my life was over, but they saved my emotions, my sanity, my well-being. I was a wreck and these books helped to put me back together.
And they still do that.
When I’m having a really bad time, a tough time, there are two book series that I turn to: Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments. They both can make me feel better even on the darkest of days. Even when I feel the worst.
But the books did more than just be books that will sit on my shelves forever, and stories that I’ll dive into again and again. They inspire me to be a better write, they inspire me to write beautiful books. I want to write books that have characters that are loved like these, and have stories that are addicting and stories that make people cry the way I cried while reading City of Heavenly Fire. I am inspired every day by Cassandra Clare.
She also taught me so much about fear, about accepting your fears, in order to overcome them. This is a huge part of the first trilogy in this series. Clary’s fear of fitting into the Shadowhunter world. Isabelle’s fear of love. Jace’s fear of letting anyone. Valentine’s fear (and jealousy) of the Downworlders. Jocelyn’s fear for Clary’s safety. Alec’s fear for being himself. Simon’s fear of being left behind. SO much fear, but by the time we reach the end of City of Glass, they have either accepted those fears, are working on them or have conquered them. She shows us that we don’t need a Fearless rune to do this but that courage and bravery come from inside of us, to overcome those things that make us so afraid. This is why I have a fearless rune tattoo, to remind myself that I can strong enough and brave enough to over come anything.
They have also brought me into a world I never expected. I had been blogging for nearly a year when I met Cassandra Clare for the second time. I was able to interview her (you can check out that video here), and it opened a lot of doors for me as a blogger. Then I met her about three weeks later, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and put together a Shadowhunter meet-up, where I met some new friends, most importantly, my fangirl bestie, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels.
Not only did her books bring me to some amazing friends BUT they in turn introduced me to a world bigger than the one I had known. I showed them the beauty of all the book events and they introduced me to movie premieres. Without that meetup, and meeting all those friends, I would have never even thought to go to premieres like City of Bones, Catching Fire, Vampire Academy and Divergent. These books have given me a community of friends all over the world. I’ve been messaging online and texting on my phone nonstop for the last 48+ hours about the release of City of Heavenly Fire, and I love this community and what it has given to me, and what I hope I have given back. I have met so many amazing friends because of it.
So some people think I’m crazy and some people probably look at me and think “its just a book”. But its so much more than that, so much more. I loved the finale of the series, though I admit I did have some beef with the ending, but whatever I feel for this book, it is so sad and bittersweet to see it end. I know that we will continue into the lives of Lucie and James Herondale in The Last Hours and the lives of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn in The Dark Artifices. I know that we have not yet left the Shadowhunter world but leaving behind the world of Clary, Jace, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, Simon, Jocelyn, Luke, Maia, Jordan, and so many many more is heartbreaking. I will miss them and their romances and their antics and their adventures. Its hard to say good bye because of how much this series meant to me.
Check out some pictures from my TMI adventures over the last couple years, including meeting Cassie, the cast of the movie, the red carpet premiere of the movie, hanging out with TMI friends, and my tattoo.
And don’t forget to share what The Mortal Instruments mean to you in the comments!
Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!
I will warn you now: there will be NO NO NO NO NO spoilers for City of Heavenly Fire in this review, but there will be spoilers for City of Bones, Ashes, Glass, Fallen Angels and Lost Souls. If you’re reading this and you haven’t read the first five, I can’t imagine why you’re here, but I would suggest not reading this review.
Now I’m going to jump in. I was very excited for this book but also incredibly apprehensive. I loved the way the first trilogy of this series ended, City of Glass is beautiful and it remains my favorite. Fallen Angels was disappointing to me, and Lost Souls was better but I just didn’t feel like the second half of the series was good for me. I was happy with how City of Glass ended.
That being said, now after reading City of Heavenly Fire, I can say…that City of Glass is still probably my favorite of the entire series but City of Heavenly Fire was incredible and I’m highly impressed and I thought that the ending was really great.
It wasn’t perfect though, but I’ll get to that later. I’m going to be as spoiler free as I can possibly be, but if you literally want to know nothing before you read this book, I suggest you go. I promise to be spoiler free, and vague but it still may not be enough for you.
First off, the story. When we leave Sebastian at the end of Lost Souls, with the Infernal Cup, and the ability to transform the Nephilim into darker versions of himself, I thought, where on earth is this going? We know Sebastian is insane, and that the demon blood in his body has made him into a sick person but I couldn’t see exactly where the story was going in this book. It opens up with Sebastian attacking Institutes in order to build up his Dark Shadowhunter army. The fear of him is real, and the building tension and fear throughout the story is very real. I was clutching the pages, anxious to get through because I had to know what happened next. It wasn’t just the whole “it’s the end of the series” anxiety but also the “Ohmygod, what is happening, what is Sebastian doing, what is going to happen to my favorite characters” anxiety.
The romance in the story is absolutely beautiful too. There are so many great romances in the Mortal Instruments series and seeing them interact and struggle and work together, it was beautiful, and I loved all of it. I do love that we get to see Jace and Clary fight together, side by side for the first time in the series. Its the first time we really truly see them as equals and I absolutely loved it. There are a few couples that don’t make it, all heartbreaking but done in ways that killed your heart but also made sense too, if that made sense. Its hard to explain without feeling like I’m revealing stuff but the couples that didn’t make it together, it hurt but it was done in a way that it made sense and it was heartbreaking in all the right ways. Plus there are a lot of FANTASTIC sexy scenes, enough to get all of us Shadowhunters all hot and bothered.
We’ve known for awhile now that we would meet the main characters of The Dark Artifices-Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn-would be introduced in this and I was surprised with the…frequency that they appeared in the story. I won’t say more than that but what little we get to know of them as young Shadowhunters-in-training in CoHF makes me absolutely love them and I can’t wait to dive into their stories later. I also like that we get what seems like hints for Lady Midnight in this book.
Again, from the hints, and from Clockwork Princess (if you haven’t read that, please skip to the next paragraph), that Brother Zachariah would be…no longer a Silent Brother anymore. Again, no spoilers, but this scene caused me to burst into uncontrollable tears and the interaction between him and Jace was beautiful. I marked it in my book because it was truly one of my favorite scenes in the book.
I did have some issues with the end. I think that Cassandra Clare could have been…harsher than she was, and that she could have taken more risks than she ended up taking. I was disappointed that the sort of sacrifices she made didn’t make as much of an impact as she could have. Its so hard to talk about it without spoilers but I just thought Cassie could have taken more risks. I thought that the direction she took with Simon’s story was the sort of risk I was looking for but it changed in the end to something I didn’t expect and was also kind of disappointing too. I think she went safe in the ending of the book, though heartbreaking and heart wrenching, could have been…more realistic, I guess is the word I’m looking for.
The conclusion of Sebastian’s story, I’ll just do words: unexpected. but kind of expected. perfectly written. perfect in general.
I had two favorite parts: when Zachariah, no longer a Silent Brother, meets Jace. Then there is a part when…a group of our favorite characters come into contact with a demon that makes them…see things. The things they see…its very emotional and I had to pause after I read that part in order to wipe the tears literally streaming down my face.
Basically, I am highly impressed with this book, and the fact that it brought together so much that has happened in the Shadowhunter world. We got flashes to the time of Tessa, Jem and Will, we got hints at the time of their children. We have everything of the Mortal Instruments time come together and wrap up and we have hints at what is to come in the future, and I think it all comes through nearly flawlessly and I applaud Cassie Clare a million times. I am proud to wear the fearless rune permanently on my shoulder :)
One last thing that’s SLIGHTLY (very slightly) spoilery: Simon’s band finally picks a name. And its WONDERFUL.
Ave Atque Vale, Shadowhunters. Until Lady Midnight!
I’m awful! This was almost two weeks ago and I’ve just been SO incredibly busy and I kept meaning to vlog about it, sildenafil but that never happened so I’m just going to write about it quickly because all I have to say about this awesome event is that it was awesome.
Last year’s Ontario Teen Book Fest introduced to me to a multitude of amazing authors, a lot of whom I’ve since then become friends with. Which is incredible to me, both as a book blogger and as a writer. It means the world to me.
So I was most definitely looking forward to this year’s fest. I organized the blog tour, held a giveaway and did all kinds of promotion for it, because I love this event SO much.
I was asked back again as an official blogger, with my best fangirl friend, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels, and we attended the official Author Breakfast, and started meeting the authors, getting to know them, and interviewing them for our vlog, which you can check out now!
It was a blast, like always, and I really enjoyed meeting all the authors and talking about fictional crushes and great teen books they wish they’d had as teens. I feel like I made a lot of connections and a lot of friends that day.
There was the opening keynote speeches from Jessica Brody (LOVE her), Lauren Kate (seriously, she was so pregnant and IN HEELS, much props!) and John Corey Whaley (who seriously should be my best friend). They all had wonderful things to say about life and writing. They made me laugh, and they made me think, and they all made me feel a lot better about being a struggling writer. Lauren talk a lot about the struggles of getting through a book, and it felt good to hear that even a published, seasoned author can feel that sort of despair where you want to throw your computer across the room. Jessica and Corey both talked about finding the right path to writing, and emphasizing that it can take time, and it can take making the wrong choices and making mistakes to get to where you need to be.
We then split up to go to our first panel, and I made sure to attend the debut author panel with Katherine Ewell, Livia Blackburne, Ava Dellaira and Catherine Linka. They had so much to say about writing and reading and getting into the world of publishing and writing. What struck me as super awesome is that they all had very different backgrounds (high school student turned Stanford student, neuroscientist, screenwriter, bookseller), and were obviously different ages, but they had all accomplished the same goal and that was great. They all had wonderful things to say.
We broke for lunch after that, which was cool, because we were back in the room with the authors again! Yay! We sat near Katherine Ewell, Ava Dellaira and Livia Blackburne and talked about writing and books and Disneyland and all sorts of fun stuff, and that was just an awesome experience to have.
After lunch, we headed to the newest addition to the Teen Book Fest schedule: author speed dating. Basically there were tables for all the readers to sit at, and every 8 minutes or so, the authors would switch to another table. You basically got some personal time with about…six or seven authors and it was SO great. Sylvia and I, along with my sister Jessica, sat a table together and had some great conversations with Lauren Miller, Catherine Linka, Jessi Kirby, Jessica Brody, Ava Dellaira and Katherine Ewell and it was awesome. A GREAT addition to the Fest, for sure!
After that, we had the final panel for the day, and we headed to a panel with Jessi Kirby, Elana K Arnold, Ava Dellaira and John Corey Whaley, all about relationships and I’ve read most of their books so that was cool. Talking about the dynamic of relationships, whether family or friends or love interests, is important and the title of the panel was “It’s Complicated” so the authors tried to insert “complicated” into as many answers as possible!
After the last panel of the day, all the authors gathered at their tables to sign their books, and we finished gathering interviews for the vlog above, and got all our books signed. It was awesome meeting ALL of the authors, and getting to know them. I am glad I’ve read some of their books and can’t wait to get my hands on the others!
I have to throw out MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR props to Courtney Saldana, the Youth Services librarian, for putting on another fantastic event and for letting me be a part of it. Much thanks to her partner in crime, Aly, and all her volunteers as well, and the Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company. You guys ROCK.
I canNOT wait until next year, to meet all kinds of awesome authors and to be a part of it once again. Plus I heard from an inside source that my darling Andrew Smith will be there, so I’m ready for it!
Remember, you can check out all the pictures from the Ontario Teen Book Fest (at least the ones I took), on the official What A Nerd Girl Says facebook page here.
Lastly, congrats to Peyton, Jasmine and Stephanie for winning the prizes in the official Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour giveaway!
OH! And it felt SO awesome being in the program. I felt important, and helpful!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.
Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.
But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.
Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.
Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.
And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.
One thing that I always want to accomplish when writing my book reviews is absolute honesty. I don’t write reviews to please, or to make people happy or any of that sort of thing. So I’m not going to lie when I say that I haven’t been overly impressed with Cora Carmack yet. I ADORE her. I follow her on everything and I think she’s an absolute doll and I think that she’s fantastic with her fans. I’ve read her previous books and have enjoyed them, but not hugely impressed.
However, with All Lined Up, I was really really excited. VERY excited. Its about romance and football. I LOVE it. There aren’t a lot of books with sports in it and so I was very highly excited about it. I’m also writing a NA/YA contemporary romance that centers around a baseball centered town (once The Awakened is done being written) so I was also excited to get some inspiration. Which I have. Which is bad because I need to finish my YA sci-fi first.
Moving on though, I said in a Jenny Han review earlier this week that even though one book of an author may not impress you, you should never just write off that author and I’m very glad I did that in the case of Cora Carmack. While her previous books haven’t made a deep impression on me, this one most definitely did.
From page one to the last page, I was hooked. I was addicted to the romance, and I was highly addicted to the story of the football team and whether they’d win or not. Cora does an absolutely fantastic job of balancing the romance and the sports in the story. She also does a great job of doing justice to the sport, while also making sure that its accessible to those who may not be into sports. I think that’s a hard thing to do but she manages it so easily and I think that comes a lot from balancing the point of view between both Dallas and Carson. We get the romance on both sides and the football on both sides, but very different views of each and it plays out quite nicely.
Which brings me to the characters themselves. I love Dallas because she is so real. Her feelings toward love, and trusting people are so real, and her animosity toward football makes so much sense and I start hating football too. And I love football! She just feels so real and her emotions are raw and genuine and you can’t help but feel them with her.
And Carson! Thank you Cora Carmack for giving me yet another book boyfriend to be massively in love with. I have a weakness for hot athletic boys and you bring this one into my life like a hurricane and I just couldn’t handle it. I love a struggling athlete, and that is exactly what Alex is going to be in my own sports novel. I love that Carson feels so deeply, about everything. I love that he works so hard too. He wants to succeed so badly and he works everyday in order to make that happen. It’s not easy for him and its not handed to him. He genuinely has to work really hard to make it happen, and I love that. It makes you love him even more.
Basically, this book made a Cora fan. She had a great story, perfectly balanced with romance and sports and excitement and sexy steamy scenes. She creates memorable, real characters in both Dallas and Carson and everyone that surrounds them. I literally sped through this book so fast that when I reached the end, I was so sad that it was the end. Cora has a real voice for romance and I hope there are more in this series because I’m ready for more football and sexy boys!