Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight is the first novel of Cassandra Clare’s third series set in the Shadowhunter world, and quite conveniently it is the third series chronologically; the first being the Infernal Devices trilogy and the second being the Mortal Instruments. And, despite nearly giving up on the Mortal Instruments series, I found myself jumping in and reading Lady Midnight straight after I’d finished the series.

Lady Midnight is the first novel in the Dark Artifices trilogy, set four years after a ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ the final novel in the Mortal Instruments series. However, you don’t need to read the Mortal Instruments series (or the Infernal Devices trilogy) to read this series. Although, if you do enjoy reading books where you recognise characters from other series then you’ll enjoy the references to the other books and the appearances of certain characters.

The main characters are Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, both characters make appearances in ‘City of Heavenly Fire’, and what happens in these scenes shape what happens in this novel. However, there are flash back sequences that describe what happens four years prior to the novel, eliminating the to read ‘City of Heavenly Fire’.

Reading the Mortal Instruments series, I never liked the main characters: Clary and Jace. However, I did enjoy reading about Emma and Julian. Emma is reckless, and Julian is the one looking out for her, they are two opposite sides of the same coin, but that’s what made reading about them so great.

We are also introduced to Julian’s siblings, and Christina who has temporarily moved to the institute. All characters are given a separate personality, and I thought the depiction of the twins were fantastic, and how just because you’re a twin you don’t necessarily agree on everything!

There is an absence of a happy ending after ‘City of Heavenly Fire’, and this story builds on that, the issues in the Clave (the government) and the Clave’s treatment of Shadowhunters who are ill are clearly highlighted. We get to see the character’s displeasure at the Clave’s decision, and their anger makes them even more realistic characters.

The story focuses on Emma who is searching on closure about her parent’s death four years ago which was dismissed by the Clave. Unlike, the other series, this story is more of a mystery, Emma, Julian and the others are trying to solve the mystery of her parent’s death. And, for me I found this book (despite being 700 pages long) held my interest longer then any of the Mortal Instruments novels did.

However, one problem I have with this novel was the forbidden love aspect, Julian and Emma are parabatai (meaning that they are partners in battle, best friends etc.), but over the course of the novel Emma starts to develop feelings for Julian. Whilst, I think that Emma and Julian would make a good couple, I find forbidden love a bit cliché. Although it did make me (and Emma) wonder why falling in love with your parabatai was forbidden.

Overall, I’d give this novel 4/5 stars, I enjoyed the story and I enjoyed reading about the characters, and I also liked the references to both the Mortal Instrument series and the Infernal Devices series. And, I’m looking forward to reading both Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness very soon.

The Moon and More Emaline

Hey everyone, hope you’re all have a good day and here is my character spotlight for today. As you may (or may not be aware) Polyvore used to be the site where I created outfits, however, it has now closed down (or bought out, I’m not too sure).

This, resulted in all the outfits temporarily going down, however I have since been able to re-upload all the outfits, and am looking for an alternative to Polyvore. I’m currently using Fashmates, but if anyone has any suggestions please let me know!

looks-1541342178803

 

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks is one of the many books I’d picked up in a charity shop because it had piqued my interest, a girl who has amnesia but has one distinct memory? It’s an interesting premise to say the least. I wanted to enjoy it primarily because the main character suffers with amnesia and I wanted to see how the author portrayed it. After reading it I thought it was portrayed very well, but I felt let down by the characters and the storyline.

I found that the writing style was a bit repetitive to portray the mind of the main character and how she forgets things and remembers them by the writing on her hand and, while I’m not a fan of repetitiveness in books in this scenario it worked well.

The main character Flora had a brain tumour when she was ten, and since then she has had amnesia and although she can remember things up until that point, she is unable to retain new memories. So, understandably it’s a big deal when she can remember kissing a boy.

I thought that Flora showed glimmers of being a great main character, and I admire her adventurous spirit. However, the key theme of the plot is that she has one memory that she can remember: she kissed Drake and, after hearing that about a million times I wanted to scream. It’s understandable that if you haven’t been able to remember anything since you were young, then it’s a big deal if you remember something, but how could you love someone after you just met them?

Whilst I didn’t like Drake, or Flora, there were characters I did like. I thought Agi was a brilliant character, and I loved her independence and free spirit. I enjoyed reading about Jacob and I was gutted that we didn’t get to meet him, and whilst I didn’t agree with Paige’s decisions in the book, I thought she really came through in the end.

The ending, I felt, was very rushed, the main focus of the novel is Flora’s journey. However, everything was resolved (although, that depends on how you define resolved) in just a couple of pages, with most of those being a letter. There are questions still left unanswered after the book has ended. What happens to the main character after the end of the novel?

Overall, I would give this book 3/5 stars, I loved the representation of amnesia and I thought it was portrayed well. I also thought the storyline was exciting in parts, but I failed to warm to Flora and Drake, and I didn’t like the fact that the main driving force was her love for Drake.  I think if you look at this book where the main character is finding herself rather than finding the love of her life, then it’ll provide a very good read.

Meet me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

Meet me at the Cupcake Café was the first Jenny Colgan book I read and also one of my favourites. And it was also the book that had broken my previous resolution of not re-reading books. However, just recently, me and my boyfriend have had this crazy idea to open up a café, so what better thing to read about than a woman who does just that?

Also if I was ever going to write a blog post on what my favourite book covers of all time were this would definitely make the list- it’s such a lovely cover, and just like a cupcake it tempts you to read the book.

This novel is about Issy Randall, who loves baking and when she gets fired from her safe, corporate job decides to take a risk and open up a cupcake café. One thing I loved about Issy is that she has a hobby; baking but she isn’t afraid to make a career out of it, even though she encounters many problems and many obstacles along the way.

The supporting cast are also brilliant; I loved how different all the characters were, and towards the end even Caroline grew on me. (Although why you would want to eat a healthy cupcake is beyond me!) Although this story is primarily about Issy, there is something interesting going on in everybody’s lives!

I also loved the fact that although it may all seem like sunshine and rainbows for our protagonist Issy when she decides to take her hobby to the next level… it isn’t. Yes, granted started your own business is great, but there are downsides, and it takes a lot of hard work and effort. I felt like Jenny Colgan showed the downsides and the upsides of starting your own business very well.

I also loved that each chapter began with a recipe (which have all been tested by Jenny Colgan) and despite the fact that I haven’t been brave enough to try any of this recipes, I would definitely like to and I’ve shelved them away for later use.

One criticism that I do have for this book is that it occasionally switched point of views without warning; normally it is easy to tell whose point of view it was meant to be. However, personally I would’ve preferred it to just be in Issy’s point of view for consistency.

Overall I would give this book 5/5 star with buttercream icing and a cherry on top. A super sweet read, with great characters and a brilliant storyline.

Warning: side effects when reading this book may include cravings to eat something sweet, so to avoid have something sweet to nibble on when reading this book (preferably a cupcake).

 

 

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

‘Apple and Rain’ was the first book I read by Sarah Crossan despite having ‘One’ on my bookshelf for about a year now. The one reason why I had yet to read ‘One’ was because it was a story told by poetry, and I’m not the biggest fan of poetry (it’s bad enough reading and analysing poetry in English, it’s even worse when it’s in your second language.) But after reading ‘Apple and Rain’ and hearing the brilliant reviews about ‘One’ I’m more than happy to give it a try.

Side note: Before I continue I just have to say that the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t pick it up because of the beautiful cover.

Apple and Rain, is about a girl called Apple who lives with her Nan after her mum left eleven years ago, and in this book her mother returns with another daughter called Rain. Apple then decides to live with her and her life is turned upside down.

The main character; Apple is thirteen, which makes her quite a bit younger than a lot of protagonists from other YA characters who tend to be around sixteen. I found this a refreshing change; a lot of things Apple does and says in the books are a reflection on what I was like at thirteen. Getting annoyed at your guardian for being overprotective and falling out with friends and feeling like it’s the end of the world is a thing a lot of thirteen year olds can relate to.

The female friendships I think were really well done and really reflect friendships in school; it’s very easy to feel like it’s the end of the world when we’re falling out. The friendships were also very realistic, Apple and her best friend (whose name I’ve completely forgotten) at the start of the novel don’t become best friends again, but that’s okay, in some friendships we just drift apart and that’s completely normal. I also liked the fact that due to our protagonist age friendships were significantly more important than relationships.

The only problem I found was with this book is that I found it hard to connect with Apple due to her being thirteen, and I wish that I had discovered this book a couple of years ago so that I could’ve connected with her more.

One thing that really stood out for me in this novel was the poetry, throughout the novel Apple writes poetry for her English assignments, for each assignment she will write one ‘real’ and one ‘fake’ poem, and the ‘real’ one will reflect what she’s going through and I found them all really touching. I loved the fact that despite everything she was going through she still had time to write poetry.

Overall I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars, and I am definitely look forward to reading more of Sarah Crossan’s work in the future. Also side note if you are planning to read this book make sure that you have a lot of tissues ready.