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Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed

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Urban Fantasy YA

Shout Out to Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy!

So if you’ve read Cassandra Clare’s books, then you must have heard of her new series on our favourite geek, Simon Lewis. Writing alongside her are Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman, who are amazing authors as well. Simon’s story follows after City of Heavenly Fire and is about his time at Shadowhunter Academy, a place designed for Shadowhunters to learn. It’s also meant to prep mundanes like Simon for Ascension. So far six of the novellas have come out and they have been SUPERB! Every instalment leaves you wanting more.

How many of you who have read The Mortal Instrument series wondered, “What’s going to happen to Simon?” Is he going to pass Ascension? Does this mean he’ll be with Isabelle? What about his relationship with, well, everybody? From the series, we get some more info on Simon’s whereabouts, but we also get some stories from the past, including characters from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments that Simon isn’t even aware of and is exclusively for us readers.

Simon is fun to read. Witty, an underdog and willing to stand up for what he believes in. He’s a lot like Clary (which is no surprise, seeing as they’re best friends), but a have few differences, like humour It’s nice to be reading it in a school setting as well, sort of like a Hogwarts for Shadowhunters. I like this series even better than The Bane Chronicles and hope that you all enjoy it, too! It’s the perfect remedy for a book hangover induced by¬†The Mortal Instruments! If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest that you start reading it now. ūüėČ

Shadowhunter Academy awaits you
Shadowhunter Academy awaits you

-Sumaya

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My Thoughts on Velvet by Temple West

Spoiler-Warning

My overall rating of Velvet: red4

Yay! I finished Velvet! And now I’m going to try and review it better than last time… I know that my first review on this blog was kind of horrible, because I just wanted to get it out there, before I moved on to another book. This time I’m going to be a bit more careful with how I write this post.

I’d like to start off with the fact that I was looking forward to reading this book so much that I went to ChaptersIndigo and bought the book, without any regrets after purchase. I mean, come on! The blurb was so enticing (Goodreads blurb:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22561320-velvet)! ¬† And I couldn’t wait to read it; I only had to finish some other books on by TBR pile, as well as focus on summer school. Once those things were out of the way, I sat down and started reading Velvet, hoping for the same feelings I had when reading A Little Something Different or All the Feels (two other great books under Swoon Reads).

To properly assess this book, I looked at my feelings throughout parts of the novel. In the first part of the book, while I didn’t exactly lose interest, I also didn’t understand what was going on. In my mind (and out loud), I was wondering “when are we going to get to the supernatural part?”. Because, honestly, it seemed pretty normal throughout the first third of the book. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought Velvet was a contemporary instead of a fantasy/paranormal novel. It was almost like this: girl has issues, girl meets boy, and then girl deals with her problems. Almost, but not quite. This is because as soon as we get settled down into the narrative, Adrian (our main hottie) pulls an Edward and says he’s a vampire. Which wasn’t that much of a surprise, if you’ve read the blurb of the book; it was only a matter of time before he told Caitlyn (our protagonist). So even though I was able to read the first part of the novel without cringing, at the same time, I wouldn’t say that I was amazingly sucked into it. The reasons I kept on reading were more due to the fact that I was expecting something to happen. Also, I bought the book, which¬†limited my ability to DNF. If I were to rate the first part of the book, ¬†I would give it a 3.5 star rating.

While reading the second part of the book,I saw so many similarities to Twilight that I couldn’t think straight. Like when she visited his house, the fact that he’s so wealthy, the snuggling in bed or the other little tidbit, you know… dying after giving birth to a demon’s child (who, btw, was his father). It got me wondering if Twilight could be considered a modern classic. I mean, people give a hard time, but there were many books that weren’t given the time of day that are now considered classics or worth reading. It was interesting seeing these similarities, but I am also thankful that it wasn’t an exact copy of Twilight and that it had its own twist on things. As far as enjoying the second part of the book, let’s just say it was my least favourite part of the book. It was just too safe, and they had an answer for everything: from Caitlyn’s nightmares to how to keep her safe. For now, the threat that’s supposed to be surrounding Caitlyn was actually nonthreatening, and I could feel myself losing interest. I felt everything about this part of the story to be a bit mundane, including the characters, like Caitlyn, her group of friends, the family unit, Adrian, etc. The only person who I thoroughly liked in this part was Lucian, Adrian’s adorkable little brother, and Trish, Caitlyn’s best friend. Caitlyn seemed dull and a bit of a prude with nothing making her special, other than the fact that she could sow well. Even this ability was being covered because she barely mentioned sowing throughout the first two parts of the book. Her group of friends, with the exception of Trish, shared features that made them similar to Caitlyn and almost unbearable as well. Adrian, on the other hand, seemed to be a Marty Stu, being good at almost ¬†everything. Without those awkward moments between him and Cait, I think I wouldn’t have liked him much. It’s like his amazingness showed how mediocre she appeared in comparison. To me, this part of the story deserved a 3.0-3.5 star rating as well.

You’re all probably wondering “Well, how come you gave it four stars as your rating?” Well, I have the third part of the book¬†to thank for the overall rating. It wasn’t until the awkward moment when they were caught in bed together by her family that I caught interest again. Instead of only exclaiming “Aggggggghhhhh!”, at the same time, I was thinking “Yay! Trouble = conflict= the story is going to get interesting!” And it did. Once she didn’t have Adrian’s presence, physically or emotionally, I started to warm up to Caitlyn again. And Adrian was less of a Marty Stu and more of a *insert bad word here*. There would be moments where she would impress me, like when she was talking to Julian after Adrian started giving her the cold shoulder.

“I’ve already lost everything I ever cared about and I’m still here. I haven’t given up. So fight me or get the hell out of my face because I’ve got shit to do.”

At that point, this was me:

Qa2v7

As for the major danger, I found it pretty ironic that it occurred mainly because of Adrian, even though Adrian tried to protect her physically and emotionally, by distancing himself from her. I understood why he was trying be a jerk to her right off the bat (because of the rule that vamps and humans cannot coexist in love), but it didn’t excuse his behaviour. He could have easily talked to her like a person, instead of deciding what’s best for her. What¬†his behaviour just did was make her more vulnerable and wanting a connection with someone, which is how his father (aka major danger) got past their “defences” and almost killed them both. No wonder Caitlyn is pissed at him and herself (him, for treating her that way, and herself for putting them both in danger)! I liked how even though she admitted to loving him, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he was being a *insert bad word here* and that the author doesn’t let him get away with it.

This last part of the book, first of all, made me wonder why the rest of the book couldn’t be this¬†pink5! I mean, everything was in it: from the conflict to the steamy (no pun intended) shower scene! Everyone who’s read it said the book was steamy overall, but I didn’t feel that until this moment, due to the fact that¬†Caitlyn was a bit of a prude in the first two parts of the story. Anyways, I couldn’t get enough of the book by the end of it, even though I knew that rushing to the end would only mean that I would finish it and have to wait for more. There were a lot of questions left unanswered, like “What is Caitlyn?”, or “Where did the father and Lucian go?” My rating for the last bit of the story is 4.5-5 stars, making it an enjoyable read to me, overall (especially the last part).I guess all we can really do now as readers is wait for the next book and hope that it follows this epic ending. At least, I’ll be waiting…

waiting

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