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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (SPOILERS) & Jemma Soap Box

*builds fortress to protect self from raging Cassie Clare fans*

All the Disclaimers

These are my opinions on the book. Please do not feel like you have to tell me all of the reasons that you loved this book, and in return please do not attack my opinions. I would love to discuss with you, just please do it in a civil way. Thank you! 

As you can see above, this post contains SPOILERS for Lady Midnight. There are NO PLOT spoilers about story; however, the spoilers are contained to my feelings on the Julian and Emma relationship. There will also be TID spoilers and slight TMI spoilers. 

Continue with caution (and please don't kill me).

This is honestly such a hard review for me to write for a couple of reasons:
  1. I was expecting to love this book. So many people who have read this book have called it the best book Clare has published. With the new perspective of a girl who was raised a Shadowhunter wasn't something we had seen from Clare before, so I was excited to see how she tackled it. 
  2. I was--and still am--a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series. I also loved The Infernal Devices, but I definitely had my problems with that trilogy. This is the first really overly critical review I've had to do of Clare's work, apart from Clockwork Princess but I still overall really enjoyed the book. Every book of hers has been 3 stars or above for me. 
  3. I can understand why people love this book. I can see it, and I also hate confrontation and Clare fans are kind of scary when they want to be. 
I also want to state a few things before jumping into my review and discussion of this book:
  1. I started this book when it first came out, and then put it down. Around May 13th, I started the book over again at page one with help from the audiobook. 
  2. At page 313 (approximately 50%) I was about to quit reading the book for good, put it down and never look back because I couldn't stand it (more on this later). However, because of all the rave reviews, I really wanted to continue the story because what if got better? So I tried to continue reading and couldn't force myself to, so I watched a couple of spoiler YouTube discussions to understand things that don't get explained until 30 pages to the end of the book. Without watching those videos, I would have quit reading the book. 
  3. Even though I spoiled myself for the ending, this in no way effects my thoughts and feelings on the book other than I was more aware of the literary devices (and lack thereof) that Clare was using for this build up. 

Okay. Let's start with my main issue with the book and the reason that I almost quit reading multiple times. I was never able to understand Emma and Julian's relationship. Most of the selling point of this novel is that parabatai are forbidden by Clave law to fall in love. Since that was such a big selling point, I expected to know why by the end of the book. There is a small explanation; however, it is not in my opinion sufficient. 

Literally no one in the novel knows why parabatai can't fall in love (except for the Silent Brothers and the Consul) and neither does the audience. The romantic love between Emma and Julian didn't feel forbidden to me because I couldn't understand why it was forbidden. We, the readers, go without explanation, for 658 pages. For 658 pages, I was supposed to trust Clare that there was a big reveal explaining to me--the reader--why Emma and Julian can't fall in love.

When the reason is revealed to both Emma and the readers, there are only ten pages left in the book. Ten. Her parents' murders have been solved, and the killer is presumably dead (but I don't believe it for a second), so that means that the main story arc of the trilogy isn't finding out who killed Emma's parents, it's this parabatai thing. (It's Clary and Jace, first three TMI books all over again.)

I would have found the story much more dramatic and gripping if we, the audience, could see why they can't fall in love. I'm talking a Spinner's End Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince chapter at the beginning of the novel that is from Jem's perspective when he was a Silent Brother being told the story of what happens to parabatai. It could have been a vague third person narrative from describing what happens without explicitly stating anything so as to keep an air of mystery. It could have been a lot of things, but the dramatic irony that I needed to understand the story was completely missing.

Had the story been a first person narrative, I would have understood and accepted Clare's decision without a second thought (well, maybe not, but anyway). However, she wasn’t using the perspective she chose--and the perspective she's been writing in for now 10 books and 2 series of novellas--to the best of her ability.

In addition to the lack of dramatic irony, there are more reasons I couldn't get on board with Emma + Julian. This is a dialogue between Maddie and Bee @ Heart Full of Books that perfectly sums up my feelings about this couple:
Maddie: This could be quite controversial, but we felt Emma and Julian's relationship felt more incestuous than Clary and Jace's did.
Bee: I never really got behind it. That was the main problem. If you can't ship the ship that you're supposed to ship, then it's kind of a sunken ship.
With the strange mix of parabatai, parents, adopted siblings, and best friends that Emma and Julian act as throughout the novel, the couple just felt out of place and uncomfortable to me. As Bee states in their review, "It would have been as if Jace and Isabelle from the Mortal Instruments had gotten together." I could never get behind the relationship. I also felt that it progressed too quickly, and the pair weren't healthy together as they would go from fighting a screaming one minute to kissing the next.



  • The plot, and lack thereof. I felt that the core story of finding the people behind the murders of the faeries and Emma's parents definitely got underwhelmed by the subplot of Emma and Julian's relationship. There were times when I noticed the plot altogether not going anywhere just so that Emma and Julian could have cute fall-in-love scenes. 
  • As much as I adored all of the Blackthorne kids, I felt that they were mainly plot devices. While there were a few scenes at the beginning where we just got to hang out with the whole family, after the investigation really started moving forward, they were mainly written off as "researching" until Clare needed the plot to move forward. 
  • Christina is a really interesting character. I love her story, and I love that we are seeing more racially diverse characters in addition to finally seeing a character with a strong faith! 
  • I definitely felt that a lot of Christina's development and story was stunted a lot by Emma and her "We must go smite the thing! Right this very instant, Christina, let's go!" attitude. I am excited to see where the whole her story goes. 

Mark is my absolute favorite character in the entire book and most of the reason I kept reading the story. Until he came, the humor that I love Clare for so much was scarcely there, and when Mark came he brought in so much of the humor that I know and love. He was my absolute favorite (and he is the only reason I'm considering continuing on with this trilogy).

I do really appreciate that we get a complete plot arc in this story, and how this feels like a complete story with a little teaser of things that are to come. This is definitely a vast improvement in Cassandra Clare's writing that I was a big fan of! Also, one of my biggest complaints with the last TID/TMI books was that there was so much perspective switching at annoying moments, so I appreciated the smoother and less often perspective switches.

Maybe. I definitely am not going to buy the next books before I read them. I will probably check the second out from the library once the initial release hype has died down. If I end up liking the books, I may buy them.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices #1)
Published: 8 March 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format - Length: Hardcover - 668
Source: Amazon
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Romance
Goodreads | My Goodreads Rating
Buy it! Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble
In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.
Have you read Lady Midnight yet? Tell me what you thought of the book down below! 



Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and it's all about sharing the books that have come into your possession throughout the week, whether it books added to your collection, ebooks, library books, etc. Sunday post is a weekly meme  hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer where bloggers can recap their week, showcase books, and share news.

I have already read ACOMAF and the feels, the feels are overwhelming. Hopefully, a review/discussion is coming your way soon! I have also read both of these comic trades, and felt eh about both of them. I just finished Exit, Pursued by a Bear and it was incredible! Click the link above for my review! And I'm currently making my way through Wink Poppy Midnight and it is charmingly weird and whimsical.

I've heard great, great things about More Happy than Not and Anna so I had to pick them up! Also, there's a whole slew of intertwined comics that I haven't read yet because I'm missing a volume before I can read the rest. 

If you want to see me do into in-depth details about each of these books and to see me unbox the below Owlcrate, you can watch my May Book Haul! I am definitely incredibly excited to pick up The Unexpected Everything next month with Shannon @ Leaning Light's book club. I have also already read What We Saw and if you want to see my full review above, then you can click the link above!

This was such an amazing OwlCrate box! The theme for this month was steampunk, and it involved so much beautiful jewelry, and an absolutely stunning art print tribute to Peter Pan & J.M. Barrie (not pictured because I've already hung it up on my wall). I have never read a Peter Pan retelling, and I am excited for this to be my first because I am always a fan of steampunk elements!

Also, check out the TID clockwork angel ring that was included! Beautiful!

Have any of you gotten an Owlcrate before? What other subscription boxes have y'all bought? Let me know down below!


Exit, Pursued by a Bear | Book Review

Whew. This book was a ride.

Things to know before picking up Exit, Pursued by a Bear:

1. It's a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. (So, it doesn't follow the play to a T, but honestly, where would the fun be if it did?)

2. Our main character, Hermione Winters (do you see the retelling, now?) is a cheerleader in a small town in Canada (it took me embarrassingly long to figure this out) who gets raped while at cheer camp the summer before her senior year.

3. It's a very short book (less than 300 pages), and it's definitely possible to read this in one sitting/one day.

Since they are few, let's first talk about


1. The writing wasn't anything spectacular, and at times it did have the feel of an older person writing about teenagers.

2. It doesn't touch on a lot of the topics that surround rape. Rather, it picks a few of those topics and goes into greater detail about the few rather than the many.

3. Hermione is a little bit too strong. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but though we do see her break and fall apart, I wanted to see more of that. (Jeez, that sounds cruel.)


1. Hermione is such a strong character.

2. I found the story and character reactions a bit unrealistic at times based on what I've read and researched and based on Johnston's author's note at the end, which states
"It was very important to me that Hermione have an excellent support system in this book. Her parents, friends, teachers, coach, minister, and community rally around her. She receives the medical care she requires. The police are gracious and helpful. This is not standard behavior. Many rape victims are isolated, unable to ask for the help they need, much less receive it. [...] I gave Hermione a Polly, but I think Polly might be the least fictional person in this book."
Therefore, I think the support and lack of questions and stares and whispers that Hermione experiences in this book doesn't line up with the treatment of, especially small town, rape victims. However, Johnston recognizes this and so this book is almost like "Here is how I wish rape victims were treated" with a little bit of "Here is how they are actually treated" and I really appreciated this approach.

3. It's about the journey not the destination. If this is the type of thing that makes you not enjoy a book, please pick up a different book. This book really deals with Hermione's development and her progression after the rape rather than the mentality of "we need to find the rapist" and that being the only thing that matters.

4. In addition to it being a very quick read, I found the story was nicely paced.

5. It works really well as a modern-day retelling and re-imagining of Shakespeare's play.

6. Emily's team is like her family, and I love the female friendships (YAY) in this as well as the male friendships!

7. Polly, as Johnston noted, is by far the most real character in this book, and is one of the most real characters I've read in a long time.

8. This book made me legit cry because there is an accurately represented minister of a church. The fact that she could have made him a stereotypical, judge-y, small-town preacher that condemns Hermione and didn't means a lot to me personally.

9. I have to congratulate Johnston on her creativity with the names because almost all of the original ones are absolutely ridiculous. Good job. (If you're curious, most of them are abbreviated nicknames, e.g. Polly, Tig, Leo.)

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Published: 15 March 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Format - Length: Hardback - 248 pages
Source: Library
Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads | My Goodreads Review
Buy it! Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble
Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.
Have you read this book? Are you intrigued by this book? I say give it a try! Tell me what you think down in the comments!



I have had this post ready since February, and I find it incredibly embarrassing that it is just now going up. Maureen created this tag absolutely ages ago, and I love Hamilton (obvs) so this is a necessity. I did a mix of the original ten questions and the bonus questions, cutting out those with incredible spoiler potential.
*all of these headers are edited by me, save the background (credit)*

Aside from the obvious Harry Potter answer, which would be my answer but everyone has that as their answer, I would say the world from Carry On--which is arguably the same thing--and one of the courts from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

While the world and magic in Carry On is really very similar to that of Harry Potter, I love how it is more integrated into the non-magical culture and how their magic is literally based upon common sayings and phrases. It just sounds like so much fun and I would love to be a part of it.

And as for ACOTAR, I would probably lean towards the Night Court because I am Rhysand trash because it sounds great and the types of powers (Did they have powers? It's been so long that I don't remember.) and the environment just sound so interesting.

(I would also like to be as far away from the Spring Court and Tamlin as humanly possible, so any other court will do.)

I've got to throw it back to TID for this one and say Charlotte Fairchild & Sophie Collins. These are two amazing, strong women who kick a lot more butt than Tessa and get a 1/4 of the page-time (is that the book equivalent to screen-time?) but 4x the amount of character development. I was constantly blown away by their strength and courage throughout the series, and they don't get enough credit for all the credit [they] gave us.*

*See what I did there? Do ya? Do ya?*

Homeboys went after what they wanted for sure. Victor and Eli are both fantastic characters who did everything, risked everything--literally, they risked their lives--to get what they wanted: superpowers. When I think of these two, I literally think of Burr and Hamilton. 

BURR: "You got more than you gave." 
HAMILTON: "And I wanted what I got. When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game, but you don't get to win unless you play in the game. Oh, you get love for it. You get hate for it. You get nothing if you wait for it, wait for it, wait! God help and forgive me, I want to build something that's gonna outlive me."

Tell me that doesn't perfectly describe Eli and Victor. Friends turned enemies. 

Did Victoria Schwab base these characters off A. Burr & A. Ham? Hmmmm.....

LOL. I have a few, but spoilers . . . so . . . no.

It has been ridiculously long since I've truly marathoned (something I'm hoping to remedy this summer with a few trilogies I have on hand) but my record for marathoning still rests with the Divergent trilogy, which I read in three days.

How is this a real question?


It's been a while since I've read them, and I decided not to continue on with the "series" but the Selection series by Kiera Cass was such a guilty pleasure read for me when I was reading them. While I don't necessarily agree with the term "guilty pleasure" for these books, more like "relaxed reading" because I don't really have to think when I am reading these books.

Harry Potter is always the answer to this question. 

I have a couple of answers for this question.

1. Will and Jem from the Infernal Devices
2. Ronan and Gansey from The Raven Cycle
3. James and Sirius from the Harry Potter series

God, I was so late the the Shadowhunters universe. I read City of Bones late 2015 and then finished the rest of the series in the first few months of 2016. Likewise, I only read the Infernal Devices in 2015 as well.

Have any of you done this tag? Link it down below so that I read your answers!


April Book Haul | #BookOutletHaul + April Owlcrate!

Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and it's all about sharing the books that have come into your possession throughout the week, whether it books added to your collection, ebooks, library books, etc. Sunday post is a weekly meme  hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer where bloggers can recap their week, showcase books, and share news.

ALL OF THESE CAME FROM BOOK OUTLET. I know, you don't believe me, but I don't believe me either so it's really okay. I went for a casual pre-finals scroll through Book Outlet, intending for it to be one of those "add books to your cart and then leave the site" kind of deals, but then I saw so many amazing things, like the Harry Potter Creature Vault and Princess of Thorns, which is a Game of Thrones-esk continuation of Sleeping Beauty (read Cait @ PaperFury's rave review and tell me you don't want to read this book!) I'm also really excited to own my own copy of The Conspiracy of Us, a book I started in March--and loved!--but had to return to the library before I could finish.

Book Depository and Amazon also happened to me this month. I am definitely going to be picking up The Bane Chronicles soon because I was not prepared for the lack of Magnus that there is in Lady Midnight. I am currently working my way through The Wrath & The Dawn and I'm really liking it!

These were all of #booksfortrade things that I got this month! I am so happy with all of these, especially The Darkest Minds, which is signed (Thanks, Paige!), and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.

The cashier at Barnes and Noble legitimately laughed at me when he was checking me out.

I want to be Rory Gilmore because I'm basically obsessed.

Also, I've wanted to read all three of these books for a very long time, and now I have an excuse.

The Raven King
*I am refusing to put a goodreads link to this book until I have finished it because I don't even want to see people's average star rating for this book.*


This was my very first OwlCrate! (And the sole reason I purchased it was because the email told me that there would be HG paraphernalia from The Geeky Cauldron and something from Evie Seo.) I'm not super excited about this book, but I've been in a horrible reading slump with a weird craving for dystopian, so this will probably what I pick up soon!