#BookReview Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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Here’s another #ThrowbackThursday – a novel I read years ago, but reread and created a review for!! This is one of my favourites – Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

 

 

Clockwork Princess is a beautiful finish to one of YA’s best series in recent years.

For years I waited anxiously for a book like Clockwork Princess – a story that ends beautifully, perfectly and without total heart break. With characters as strong as Jem, Will and Tessa, we needed a solid ending that would make all fans happy but also tie up the story just perfectly, and Cassandra Clare delivered.

This book will pull at your heartstrings and destroy you. It’s such a beautiful ending it’s hard to believe it’s all over with. The ups and downs of this series is ended just perfectly that there are no loose ends and no destroyed fans (at least, from what I’ve seen). I dare say that this book is the best book Cassandra Clare has ever written – it rivals the base Mortal Instrument series, and has one step up. This book was even better than City of Heavenly Angels, in my opinion. With such a satisfying conclusion, I have to say it deserves more than five stars. Not many books can be finished so perfectly.

Would I recommend this series? Absolutely. While it’s a YA, it definitely doesn’t feel like your typical YA story. Adults can enjoy this – there isn’t as much ooey, gooey silly teenage angst that is in most YA books. It’s a grown up YA with the odd silly scene. So it’s safe to say it’s a good read. This series can also be used as a standalone – you don’t need to read all the other series (Mortal Instruments, Dark Artifices) to understand this book at all. It is the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, if you’re interested in reading further (they can be read out of order via the series though. TMI came out first, then this series and now The Dark Artifices). I would suggest reading the three books of this series in order though – it’s worthy.

It also has one of the most beautiful covers. I love the original cover – I saw a new one at my local book store recently and it wasn’t as beautiful, but in terms of cover art – judging the book by it’s cover it allowed for this book. With such a great cover comes such a great story.

Problems with this book/series:
Yes, there’s a love triangle. Can they be annoying? Yes. Does it work in this book? Yeah, it’s YA so it’s kind of an expected plot twist these days.
Weak characters – yeah, there are some. But personally, I find having all characters be strong can make for a boring book.
Repeat characters – Cassandra Clare uses the same characters/developments with different names and faces. It’s annoying, but as long as you aren’t just reading her books and expand your library, you don’t notice to much.
Rule Breakers – some of the “cannot be broken rules” are broken in this book. It’s kind of annoying in my eyes, but what can you do? It created the happy ending most fans wanted, so I guess we can over look that…
Tessa – FINALLY we learn what Tessa is. I’m a little disappointed it took so long because it would have been cooler to flesh out all about her throughout the series, but whatever, it works, I guess.

So, overall, this book is really on the fence for most readers – people either love it passionately to no end (ugly cry, putting the book on a pedestal and praying to it sort of deal) or hated it (rip the pages out, burn the book, demand a refund, etc). I’m on the end that enjoyed it and I definitely kept the book (Look at that cover, how can you not love the book for the cover alone?).

So, I will give it five out of five stars. It had it’s faults for sure, but it was a great read that kept me interested, was fast paced, and had an ending that I found to be good.

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#BookReview The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

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The Goddess Inheritance is the final book in the Goddess Test trilogy.

I really liked the idea behind this story – Persephone and Hades’s relationship but in a YA novel. At the time, it was kind of mind blowing for me. I was used to seeing vampire novels pop up everywhere, so this was a nice change.

So, that being said – let’s look over the positives and negatives in this story. This MAY contain minor spoilers – so beware.

Positives:
1. This series had a really nice ending. I didn’t feel like anything was left wide open and it wasn’t an ending that destroyed me and made me hate Aimee Carter! Great job!!!

2. The cover is absolutely gorgeous! I like this series covers, so if you judge by covers this might be the series for you!

3. I really like Henry. I almost want a book just centered around a character like him and watch his character continue to grow. I felt like his character was WAY more likable than Kate, and we’re following her story…

4. The side characters got more action in this book!! Gotta love when the author actually uses their side characters instead of throwing them away to focus on the main duo.

Negatives:
1. Man was this book SLOW. This whole series isn’t the fastest paced or most addicting, but still book felt drawn out. This story felt like it could have been finished in two novels.

2. Kate is annoyingStats, at least to me. I didn’t find that her character developed enough over the three books, and she still felt just as whiny as the first novel. I kind of hoped for some wild character development in this book since the last book didn’t have very much, so I was left disappointed. Perhaps she’s almost…too flawed?

Overall, this book is a great romance YA novel. It’s not super action-packed. It’s definitely a good fit for the romance section. I need to read more by Aimee Carter soon, I just never seem to be able to have the time! At least it’s nice to see her books pop up a LOT in my local book stores. She’s always on the shelves!!

I definitely recommend this entire series to fans of YA, especially those who want a great romantic read!

Five out of five stars.

Check out Aimee Carter’s Goodreads page! Aimee Carter on Goodreads

Or visit her website! AimeeCarter.com

Give her a shoutout on twitter! @Aimee_Carter

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Why not look at another review you might enjoy? March Manga Book Review: The Infernal Devices Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

#BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

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The Year After by Ashley Warner was a tale about one woman’s experience with rape.

That seems like such a horrible way to word that sentence, but this story is a year’s worth of journals about what happened after the rape (and a few extra stories from years later). There is literally journals from every single day after, all 365, and it shows how one woman has dealt with that horrible situation. Her job, her friends, her apartment, the lawsuits, her family – it is all discussed and shown to be aspects of her life that were affected (because contrary to popular belief – this affects your ENTIRE life).

This story is just one of many about these types of situations. In our world today, it’s hard to believe people can’t understand how damaging this can feel and how this is a real life situation that can happen to anyone. Having just one story show many sides of the rape has made me feel a little better about humanity. While rape is still happening, and that’s not good (in short terms), this book does shed light on real life situations. More books like this should be read to shown this can happen to anyone and it’s not a piece of pie to deal with.

This story took guts, and to me its inspirational. Everyone has their dark secrets and past that they don’t need to tell, but Ashley shared it with readers. There’s nothing that can fix the hurt she faced, but if this book can bring one more reader out to understand why this shouldn’t happen and potentially stop someone it’ll have done it’s job.

This book can bring a discussion up. I almost wish this book would have been made at the time I was in grade 12 gym class. Rape was a short discussion being told “it happens” and that was all. We knew what it was, was told as girls it’ll happen to somebody and that we’ll deal with it. No, that’s not right. This book should be given to classes to understand – this is a discussion, not a “oh well” sort of situation.

While there were parts of this book I didn’t like – the super short chapters with three sentences on a page – that hardly takes away from the story. This journey is super important and I highly suggest everyone read this book or a book similar to it to understand the pain, the survival, and the changes that a situation like this can have on someone.

Thank you for this tale Ashley, what a fantastic book.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Ashley on her website: Ashley Warner

Or on her Goodreads page!! Ashley Warner on Goodreads

She can also be found on Twitter: @ashleywarnernyc

 

 

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#BookReview We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

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This #ThrowbackThursday is from over a decade ago for me. Oh how time flies!!!

We All Fall Down by Eric Walters is a tale of struggle in a fictional version of a real event.

Warning: Spoilers below.

Eric Walters came to my elementary school (yeah, I feel old, I read this YEARS ago initially) and brought a giant amount of his books. I ended up reading quite a bit by him and I wish I could find more because I remember loving him. The worst part about this book for me (back in the day of course) was one of my bullies in school did a book review on it as well and used his book review to make fun of me for reading the book. Which basically left me with a sour taste in my mouth for this book (despite it not being this book’s fault).

But now for the real review…

This book is sad. Really sad. But when you look at the events it is based off of, it’s understandable why it’s so sad. Especially when it’s introducing a young audience to such a big event! But I think Eric did a great job with this novel. When I first read this book when I was younger I did NOT understand how big this event was. I was pretty young and didn’t understand what explosions and twin towers were (I was more focused on Power Rangers, Sailor Moon and if there was a new Disney movie coming out). Having this book and having conversations with my parents, teachers and classmates involving this situation was a BIG step for me – and I applaud this book for making it possible.

Overall, this is a unique book. I like that it brings tough events up to a younger audience and leaves room for conversations. Is it totally realistic? Absolutely not. Did it need to be? No. As a kid, I don’t think I would have been prepared for these characters to die – I couldn’t contemplate death. Having bad things happen within the realm of reality was a much better alternative.

This book isn’t just made for kids as I keep saying, but as someone who read it as an adult and as a child, I truly respect it. It’s hard to write a book about real events, have it written in a respectful and truthful way, and have it be good. Good job Eric!

Five out of five stars.

Find Eric Walters on Goodreads: Eric Walters on Goodreads

Visit his website: Eric Walters.net

Or give him a shout out on Twitter! @EricRWalters

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview Restless Ambition by Cathy Curtis

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Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter

This novel took me a VERY long time to finish – partially because it’s long, and partially because it didn’t draw me in. I love a good biography, but this book didn’t do it for me as much as I would have thought it would. That being said, it was well written and it’s a great read for those who like non-fiction.

Following a painter in the 1950s is the main path of this book. Grace’s life definitely deserved a book – the ups and down this woman goes through it more interesting than most soap operas. Her marriages and her motherhood are two of the more interesting parts of this novel, alongside knowing she was a female painter in the 1950s (which seems like it would be harder than today – there was no social media to show off your skill back then. You had to work hard to get noticed!).

This book is informational and seems like it was highly researched. I appreciate a biography that sounds more than someone who watched a couple YouTube videos and figured they could write a story about the person. It seems like the type of novel I would have loved in my art classes in high school – it’s researched and has incredible information I could have used for an essay or two. And considering I didn’t know anything about this author (or knew she existed) before reading this novel I was thoroughly impressed.

Overall, this was a great book. I definitely suggest it to those who enjoy non-fiction books and biographies.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check out Cathy Curtis on Goodreads! Cathy Curtis on Goodreads

Or check out her website: CathyCurtis.net

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#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran

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Someone You Love is Gone by Gurjinder Basran is a beautiful novel centered around grief.

Picking this book up, after losing my own Father years ago, was kind of like therapy. I was able to see someone else facing the exact thing I had (keep in mind a different gendered parent) and having a similar response to me. Gurjinder Basran does a fantastic job of showing how grief affects a person.

The small losses of temper, without meaning to was a big part of mine and my Mother’s grief. Seeing this happen was truly incredible – our main character Simran does not purposely yell at her daughter or her husband, it just happens. The emotions that go through someone when experiencing grief is very expressive in this book – and it shows how talented this author is.

I’d hate to say this book is like a “slice of life” novel, but it is – but a slice of grief and the life that comes after. So many sayings that you don’t think about – like how you just get used to grief and it doesn’t get better – are displayed in this story. Before someone dies, you say that but don’t realize how true those sayings really are. You don’t realize how haunting it is to be here and that person who’s in your memories and clothes are still in their closets are just not there – they don’t exist anymore. This beautiful novel shows all of this, and it almost made me cry thinking about how honest this book is compared to my own grief.

I relate a lot of Sim, and I think this is why the book speaks to me so much.

<spoiler> When her husband comes home from work only to get changed to go out for drinks for work, leaving Sim behind when she really needs someone (and her daughter goes back to school and won’t even hug her mother goodbye) speaks to me on so many levels. All of my friends and family ditched me as soon as my Father died, leaving me alone for the final month of high school. Literally alone. It speaks to me so much on so many levels to see THIS IS REAL. This was not just my small reality, but this can be others as well – even if this book is fictional. </spoiler>

Overall, this book is truly beautiful. I could go on and spoil everything, but I would rather just state my opinion to finish it off.

This book shows the gradual change in grief – immediately losing a parent, dealing with the emotions after, dealing with relationships during grief, trying to pick what’s best and how to grieve, and the finale of finally accepting it.

This book should be read by those experiencing or who have experienced grief to understand. This was far better than any therapist or book I was forced to read during my grief – those self help books are rarely helpful, let’s be honest.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

Check out Gurjinder Basran on Goodreads! Gurjinder Basran on Goodreads

Or check out her website! Gurjinder Basran

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister

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#ThrowbackThursday time! Here’s another Katie MacAlister fave of mine!

 

 

Katie MacAlister first book in a riveting series is golden for romance/fantasy lovers everywhere.

It’s hard to believe You Slay Me was one of the first books in Katie MacAlister’s giant dragon universe (does it have an official name? All of the series within this universe? It probably does…). This book was the first of many cute, sexy, fantasy filled books focusing on dragons. And it’s safe to say – it’s fantastic! This is one of my many guilty pleasures that I keep on my shelf for when I’m having a rough day. It always makes me smile because it’s so sweet!

Katie is a funny writer – she’s not super serious, and that’s what makes this book work. It’s out of the ordinary (obviously, it has dragons and all sorts of crazy creatures in it) and totally addicting. It’s fast paced, full of ooey gooey romance, completely silly and filled with sexy men. It’s solid chick lit!!

I can definitely see some readers having faults with it – the book doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s full of funny tropes and understands that it’s a lighthearted, romance novel. But for me, it’s everything I want in more in a romance novel. I want happy endings, sexy scenes, hot men, quirky jokes and strong, sassy leads. Drake is a bit of a jerk, even I’ll admit that, but I like how his character progresses. I’m not sure how else Katie would have introduced these two in the realm of what this universe is, to be very honest.

So, overall, I love it! I’m kinda annoyed I haven’t been able to get to the very newest 2017 book yet because these books always make my day!

Five out of five stars.

Find Katie and all of her books on Goodreads: Katie MacAlister on Goodreads

Visit her website: KatieMacAlister.com

Or give her a shout out on twitter! @KatieMacAlister

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Give me a shout-out on Twitter! Let me know your recent reads!!! Or give me some recommendations!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

Like this review? Check out another one you may enjoy! Book Review: His Custody by Tamsen Parker