Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Darkness Strange and Lovely review

A Darkness Strange and Lovely
(Something Strange and Deadly #2)
By Susan Dennard

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

Source: Goodreads

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:

A Darkness Strange and Lovely is book two in the Something Strange and Deadly series. In this book Eleanor realises that in order to protect herself she needs to use her powers, but the more she uses her magic the more addicted she becomes to using her powers. We also get to see Elijah's demon friend, who I can't seem to figure out. Oliver was definitely in love with Elijah but I can't figure out whether Ollie is a good or a bad guy. At some points he seems like he truly cares for Eleanor but at other times it seems like he is only looking out for himself and that he has some secret motive.

I felt really bad for Eleanor because she has so much going on with her. She's had her hand amputated, lost her brother and had to sell everything to pay for her mother's medical bills, a mother who has disowned her. On top of all that, Marcus is still after her and she can't help but feel the pull of her power, but the more she uses her powers, the farther away she is getting from the Spirit Hunters who hate all forms of necromancy and black magic. Plus, that iron fist at the end is definitely going to create problems for her, I can tell.

Hopefully, the next instalment will come out soon and then we can find out what is worse than necromancy, whether the Spirit Hunters manage to find Jie and if Eleanor frees Ollie.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

"I'm serious. I've seen a lot of souls pass through my home, and I've seen a lot of loves still hanging on. Those long-lasting ones" - he tapped his heart - "are the ones filled with tenderness and smiles."
"Oliver, the demon poet," I said drily.
He rolled his eyes. "One last piece of advice, El: if this Spirit-Hunter does not love you back, then good riddance. Real love isn't about drama or heartbreak. Real love just is."

She gave me a sad smile. "And she was like a sister to me-my closest friend in all the world. But...she died almost seven years ago."
"Oh, I am so sorry."
"Do not be. We must lose everyone we love at some point or another. C'est la vie."

Review of Sia

By Josh Grayson


When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.

Expected publication: 20 November 2013

Source: Goodreads

My Rating: 4/5

My Thoughts:

***Free copy of this ARC was obtained through Net Galley.***
The story begins with a teenage girl waking up on a park bench and realising that she cannot remember anything. She can't remember where she is, where she lives or who she is. The only thing she knows is that her name is Sia, and that's just because the iPod she has with her has her name on it. Confused and lost she runs into a few scary situations until she meets another homeless lady called Carol. Carol helps Sia to survive on the streets, takes her to the soup kitchen and supports Sia by being a friend.

The story continues with a male volunteer shouting at Sia for being in the soup kitchen. Sia is confused and doesn't understand why this boy hates her so much and in her scared state runs outside where she has a car accident. As a result of the accident, the hospital locates her family and tell Sia she has amnesia and they are unsure when she will regain her memories.

As Sia goes back to her old life she realises that she was one of the meanest girls at school, a typical head cheerleader dating a jock and always being the centre of attention, treating the less well-off kids like dirt. The more Sia gets to know who she was like, the more she wants to change herself, and she starts off by making more effort with her troubled parents, who are having severe financial problems not to mention her mother has a serious alcohol addiction. It was funny to see how everyone reacted to her loss of memories. For example, when Sia returns to school wearing the simplest outfit in her closet with sneakers and without makeup or jewellery her cheerleader friends have a panic attack and get to work in making her more 'presentable.' Although Sia's mother insists Sia does not go back to see her homeless friends, Sia still manages to meet Carol and the others and gives them gifts of food.

The angry boy turns out to be Kyle; someone Sia treated badly in her old life, but Sia makes amends and helps Kyle with his fundraiser. The rest of the story is about Sia trying to rectify all the mistakes she made in her past by helping others, primarily through the fundraiser. At the same time, she manages to close the bridge between the different cliques by giving them a common goal; to help all the victims of the San Francisco earthquake.

Overall, I found this book very easy to get into and to read. It had a quick pace and at times was a bit too simplistic and slightly unrealistic. For example, I found it hard to believe that Sia's mother gave up alcohol so quickly. Plus, why didn't Sia go to the police when she couldn't remember anything? You would think that was the first thing to do... But there was a lot going on in the story, so I understand why it was kept so simple. The moral of the story to me was that everyone should be given a second chance. Sia got a second chance through her amnesia and in turn, she forgave her old friends for the way they were treating her after she lost her memories. A good read, and I love the cover!

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

She smiles. "True friendship is when two friends can walk in opposite directions, yet remain side by side."

"All of a sudden, it's like I don't even care about being popular." She frowns. In a serious tone, she asks, "Though that's probably just a temporary thing, don't you think?"
It's such a cute question that I have to laugh. Can't change the world in a day, right?

"I'm happier now," I say. "I don't have to pretend all the time."
"Pretend? What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about always having to have the right clothes, the right make-up, the right walk, the right boyfriend- everything. It's exhausting, putting up that façade. Life's much easier now that I'm not a full-time beauty queen."

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Something strange and deadly

Something Strange and Deadly
(Something Strange and Deadly #1)
By Susan Dennard

About: The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:
This is definitely one of those series that you can't help but fall in love with. I've read loads of books about vampires, werewolves, demons and faeries but none about Zombies aka the walking dead.

Something strange and deadly is set in the past, where ladies wear petticoats and hold parasols, and must be chaperoned when going out. Although Eleanor lives in such a time she can't hep but be rebellious. Her brother was supposed to come back but has been delayed, and Eleanor thinks the Dead have Elijah. And she must get him back. In order to do that, Eleanor contacts the Spirit Brothers, without allowing her mother to find out. Firstly, because her mother would go hysterical if she found out Elijah was missing, and secondly because it would ruin Eleanor's chance at getting married into a wealthy family if she was found consorting with such low class people. Eleanor's mother is very concerned about appearances and is trying her utmost to get attention from the wealthiest families, even if it means calling spirits through séances, which may not be the most sensible thing considering the cemeteries are awaking without their help!

The Spirit Watchers are an interesting group, made of Joseph, Daniel and Jie. There's a Chinese girl pretending to be a boy because it is easier to be a boy than a girl in these times. Daniel and Eleanor argue and debate a fair amount, but soon enough Eleanor realises she has feelings for Daniel although his reactions are confusing her, and she has way too much to worry about without Daniel adding to her problems.

Loved the ending, and I pretty much guessed who was the necromancer but it was good to know I was right! Now I'm reading book two, and loving that too.

If you've read Something Strange and Deadly, share your comments. I would love to hear from you.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

"Really." He spoke it as a statement, and frowned. "You know, eavesdropping is most unladylike."
My jaw dropped. "Eavesdropping? I was doing no such thing."
"Certainly not, Mr. Wilcox. And false accusations are most un...most un-manly-like." The retort was a stuttered failure, but I puffed out my chest anyway. "What were you doing outside?"

Mary gripped my corset laces. "Inhale."
I sucked in, and the corset's whalebones cinched in. "Too tight!"
"Too fat is more like it." She gave one final tug before deftly knotting the laces.

Free brunch, no chaperone, and a few new friends. Life was the shiniest it had been in years. All that remained to make it perfect was bringing Elijah home.

"Though I am curious why you're so keen to hide a trip for fresh air."
"Yes, well, that is my private affair." He spoke lightly, but his eyes were hard.
"And," I continued, ignoring him, "why did you have that newspaper?"
"Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets men killed."
I grinned. "Then I daresay it's good I'm a woman."
He groaned- an amused sound. "No wonder Allie finds you confusing. You've a retort for everything."

"Of course." I nodded curtly. More and more strange confessions were piling up between Clarence and me. If I didn't watch myself, he would soon be uncovering mine.

"Can you please keep quiet, Miss Fitt?"
I gulped and nodded. Though I didn't understand Clarence's panic or his secrets, I knew he would tell no one what we'd seen. Yet someone needed to know-at the very least the Spirit-Hunters. It was their job to deal with such horrors.
I could keep quiet. But that didn't mean I would.

He sighed. "Can't say I'm surprised you were here. You have the curiosity of a cat and the common sense of a goldfish." He stared at me for a moment, the muscles in his jaw pulsing.

"Maybe next time I won't have to rescue you."
"Rescue me?" I squawked. "Rescue me from what?"
"From yourself." He drummed his fingers against the jar and then shoved it in his pocket. "If you interfere in my affairs again I'll personally feed you to the Dead."
I scoffed. And if you ever get in my way, I'll personally feed you to my mother.

I smirked. "Are you jealous?"
"Pshaw. Don't be stupid." She flipped a dark curl over her shoulder. "I would never be jealous of you. Though" - she dropped her voice to a whisper - "you will have to tell me how you coloured your cheeks."
I gritted my teeth. "It's quite simple, Allison. It's called sunshine."

But I didn't care. It was lovely, and I popped it open. A slip of paper fluttered out from the folds of lace.
Sorry you lost yours.
A thrill of pleasure ran down my body, and I couldn't stop the grin dancing on my lips. For all that Daniel hated me, maybe he liked me a little too.

"You had better cooperate, Eleanor. There are many lives at stake, including my own."
"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
"And the foolish can cite Shakespeare," he snarled.

"And dire enough that we may need to silence that young man somehow. Your reputation is at stake here. Wounds will heal, grief will pass, but a reputation can never be recovered."
I squeezed my eyes shut and in a stilted voice quoted Shakespeare. "Reputation is an idle and most false imposition." I clung to the memorized words to keep my temper cool and my thoughts clear. "Oft got without merit and lost without deserving."

God, I wasn't ready to die. In a flash of awareness, I understood Clarence's wild determination to live. It's one thing to fear death, but it's another to fear the Dead.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Quote-tastic #5

Here is my fifth addition to the weekly meme being hosted by Anna at Herding Cats & Burning Soup.

If you want to join me, please click on the link above. Leave me a link in your comment and I will check out your quotes (:
“It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside-- but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond-- only a glimpse-- and heard a note of unearthly music.”          
(L.M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon)
The Emily series were one of my favourites growing up, and if you're a writer who needs some inspiration I highly recommend these books. They are aimed at younger readers but the stories are about an orphan who just must write, and her imagination is inspiring. Each time I read the books they make me want to write too!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Review of Gallagher Girls #4

Only the Good Spy Young
(Gallagher Girls #4)
By Ally Carter

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.

Source: Goodreads

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:

I loved this instalment of the Gallagher Girls. As the series has progressed, the books have become more intense, with deeper more insightful issues being addressed and we get to find out more about Cammie's family.

In this book, Cammie is fully aware that she is the target but has no idea why. Extra security measures are being enforced at the school, and despite Cammie being the 'chameleon,' she finds she is now in the limelight and is constantly being watched.

Joe Solomon, their previous Co-ops teacher, is on the run and despite Cammie and the girls believing in his innocence, all the adults are positive he is working for the Circle who are after Cammie. As a result, there is a new Covert Operations teacher, but it seems he is there more to search the school for leads on Solomon and get into Sublevel 2 (which has locked itself to everyone) than teach the students. Furthermore, the girls do Not like Agent Townsend, and want to know just exactly what he is hiding.

Yes, Zach is back and we uncover more of his secrets too, and we learn more about Blackthorne and its students.

Love, love, love this series and if you haven't read it then you must give it a try! The ending was brilliant and I cannot wait to read the next instalment!

Zed (:

Favourite quotes:

"You still don't get it do you?" he was almost smiling as he closed the folder. "Joe Solomon is the threat."
"That's ridiculous," I shot back. "Mr Solomon is my teacher."
The man stood. "You can stop calling him 'mister,' young lady." He walked to the door and rapped on the glass. "Joe Solomon will never be your teacher again."

"Abraham Baxter, MI6," Bex's father said from the front seat. Beside me, Bex's mother gave her own name, then nudged me softly in the ribs.
"Um...Cameron Ann Morgan...Gallagher Girl?" I didn't have a clue what my official title was or should be. International terrorist target? Teenage girl? Spy in training? Person who really, really wants to know what's going on?

The hallways were quiet. The Hall of History was dark. Below us, the last of our classmates were being cleared to come, home, but nothing of the place around me felt like the home I'd left.
Well - that is, until I heard the screaming.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but when you're a spy, your life isn't defined by the lies you tell, but by the truths. A lie wouldn't change anything I sat there, numb, knowing that the truth...the truth could set me free.

"So the question is," Bex said slowly, "how far are you willing to go?"
I looked at my three best friends in the world. "How far is there?"

"No," I shook my head. "That's just it. We don't know anything. I know bombs and antidotes and how to say 'parakeet' in Portuguese, but I don't know where my father is buried."

There are things that go unsaid between people lingering under the surface for decades, for lifetimes. I've wondered sometimes if spies have fewer of those things. More, I think. There are just too many thing that even the bravest of people in the world aren't brave enough to say out loud.

If we hadn't hated him a lot, we might have liked him a little at that moment. But we did. So we didn't. 

"A seasoned operative should always check his or her perimeter at unexpected times and in unexpected ways." I glanced at Mr. Smith's nightgown - I mean shirt...nightshirt. If unexpected was what it took to stay safe, then Mr. Smith was going to be alive forever.

"She said he's alive!"
"Don't let yourself be fooled, Cammie!" my mother snapped, then dropped her voice to a whisper, "Don't let yourself...hope."
I know too well how dangerous hope can be, how it grows and sometimes dies, taking its host with it. It's more powerful than anything Dr. Fibs keeps in his labs, more precious than all the secrets in Sublevel Two.

Well, needless to say, that was followed by a lot of hugging. And some crying. And a fair amount of "I-love-you-too-ing." But, eventually, they had to let me go. Eventually, everyone does.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Review of Judgement of Souls

Judgement of Souls
By Margarita Felices

If you have to find a sacred book in order to redeem your parents, find and kill Max, the person responsible for their punishment. The same man that broke your heart and turned your perfect world upside down and try to keep the mortal man you now love safe from this vindictive Vampire’s sword, then you should read Rachel’s story.

JUDGMENT OF SOULS is a Gothic horror in which a naïve pureblood Vampire is tossed into the mortal world. Rachel meets Daniel, a nightclub owner and his group of friends and after Daniel’s best friend is murdered by Max, becomes embroiled in the search for an ancient Vampire artefact. Rachel tries to fight off her feelings for Daniel, even siding with her Vampire friend Arun to think again about Daniel’s involvement, but he’s her love and she’s going to protect him, no matter what.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

My Thoughts:

The story takes place in Cardiff, England (although I have never been to Cardiff I love it when books are based in my home country!) Despite the annoying format problem I had with this, it was an easy read. The story flowed and it had a good pace.

Tales of a vampire falling in love with the mortal have been told countless time, but I haven't tired of them... yet. Besides, there are a few twists in Judgement of Souls, making it different from the regular stories. Firstly, the vampire in this book is female, and the mortal is male, plus the vampire was once in love with the villain!

Arun and Daniel's arguments made me smile, mainly because Arun wanted to kill Daniel in order to simplify things, and Daniel refused to leave Rachel. I can tell this is going to be a series because there is no way the book could end on that note. Plus, we need to find out why Daniel's grandfather hid the book and what other secrets does his family hide?

Overall, an enjoyable read. A little gruesome at times but definitely worth it.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

She would fly over to some European city and spot one without having to look too hard. You could see them on any street corner or alleyway, drug pushers, pimps, muggers. Who would miss this type of mortal? But part of her pitied her prey; the poor unfortunate whose only weakness was their frailty; perhaps that was what she craved the most.

"...When you've been alive as long as I have, you begin to get immune to the horror. Then one day you wake to find that you don't care anymore, you let them fight and you stay out of the way."

"He's a nut job!" said Arun. "He freaked at high speed driving, but he loved flying through the air."

Rachel interrupted. "I've had it with you two! You," she said, pointing at Arun. "He stays." Then, pointing at Daniel "And you, just follow and keep yourself tucked behind one of us. Right now I'm thinking I don't need either of you, so unless this bitching stops I'll do this myself!" She spun and hurried out of the Temple.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Gallagher Girls #1

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
(Gallagher Girls #1)
By Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My thoughts:

An elite academy of girl geniuses- sorry- spy geniuses. I had heard so much about this series by Ally Carter but delayed reading it because of a leeetle bit of embarrassment. My Niece and I were at the library and as I held the Gallagher academy book my Niece said 'everyone's reading those, they've all been taken out of the school library.' that trumped me a little, to think that I wanted to read the same books that my Niece and their friends were reading, when they're 14-15 and I just turned 24 :s
But that only stopped me for so long so now I'm on the second book because I loved the first. I enjoyed the missions these girls got up to, and how they all went to a spy school but had to try and deceive their more experienced and even smarter spy teachers. Plus it doesn't help that the headmistress is the main female protagonist's mother! 
Cammie is one of the best spies at her school, nicknamed as the chameleon due to her ability of blending in and going unnoticed. That is until a normal boy notices her, and her life changes.
She cannot let Josh know her true identity and instead makes up an alternative life, one where she is home-schooled for religious reasons, her father is still alive and‎ she has a cat named Suzie.
But as her relationship grows, the lies tangle until - well you can read the book to find out!
I liked this book because although being a spy is all Cammie has ever known, being a normal girl is so much harder for her, and she's not so sure which life she prefers. The hidden bookcases, codename and life of tracking devices, or the normality of going to the movies with a boy who buys her a corsage and buys her cat toys for Suzie. 

Favourite Quotes:
I had a pain in my neck from sleeping funny, at least five hours' worth of homework, and a newfound realization that women cannot live on cherry-flavoured lip gloss alone. I dug in the bottom of my bag and found  very questionable breath mint, and figured that if I was going to die of starvation, I should at least have minty-fresh breath for the benefit of whatever classmate or faculty member would be forced to give me CPR.

"Darling," the senator said, pointing toward the stables, "come look. They have horses."
"Oh, is that what I smell?" Mrs. McHenry said with a shudder. (For the record, our school smells just fine, unless of course your smelling ability has been irreparably damaged by a lifetime of perfume samples.)

"It's lunchtime," I explained, realising that the green M&M had gotten together with the Tic Tac in my stomach and were trying to convince me that they would like some company. "We can go eat if you want-"

But Macey only wrenched her arm out of Bex's grasp and said, "Don't touch me, b-----," (Yeah, that's right, she called Bex the B word.)
Now see, here's where the whole private-school thing puts a girl at a disadvantage. MTV will lead us to believe that the B word has become a term of endearment or slang among equals, but I still mainly think of it as the insult of choice for the inarticulate. So, either Macey hated us or respected us, but I looked at Bex and knew that she was betting on the former.

By the time the teachers stopped talking, Bex still had ahold of Macey, I had leaned across the table to grab ahold of Bex, and Liz had a death grip on a flash card that listed the top five places you should go to look for black market explosives in St. Petersburg.

Yeah, this is how a highly trained government operative behaves when intercepted on a mission. Somehow, I think the fact that the interceptor looked like a cross between a young George Clooney and Orlando Bloom might have played into that a little bit. (If he'd looked like a cross between Mr. Clooney and say, one of the hobbits, I probably would have been far more capable of coherent thought.)

"No," I said. "I think it's kinda nice." And I did. My mom isn't famous for her pies. No, she's famous for defusing a nuclear device in Brussels with only a pair of cuticle scissors and a ponytail holder. Somehow, at that moment, pies seemed cooler.

"Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry!" I cried and reached down for him. "I'm so sorry. Are you all right? Please be all right."
"Cammie?" he croaked. His voice sounded so weak, and I thought, This is it. I've killed the only man I could ever love, and now I'm about to hear his deathbed (deathstreet?) confession. I leaned close to him. My hair fell into his open mouth. He gagged.
So....yeah...on my first pseudo-date, I not only physically assaulted my potential soul mate, I also made him gag-literally.

Ignorance is bliss, after all. But the problem is, for spies, ignorance is usually pretty short-lived.

Well, obviously I didn't mean "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" truth. More like Code Red truth- the abridged kind. Spy truth.

I wanted to punch and kick and make him feel as much pain as possible, but I remembered that no amount of P&E training would help me make him hurt the way that I hurt. Even at the Gallagher Academy they don't teach you how to break somebody's heart.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

City of Bones Read-A-Long

Hey everyone,

I'm participating in The Mortal Instruments City of Bones Read-A-Long via Ramblings of a Book Junkie and today is day 11.

Chapter 11 Recap "Magnus Bane:"

This chapter is where the Shadowhunters team go out to eat at a diner, but like everything else in this book, it's not an ordinary diner, it's a diner for werewolves, kelpies, warlocks, faeries and of course Shadowhunters. Whilst at the diner Alec, Izzy, Simon, Jace and Clary discuss Magnus Bane, the name that came from CLary's head when the Silent Brothers 'interrogated' her brain, who he could be and where they could find him. We also get to see an interesting discussion of how Downworlders are seen by the Shadowhunters, and I like how Clary summarises this.

"So, they're good enough to let live, good enough to make food for you, good enough to flirt with- but not really good enough? I mean, not as good as people."

Whilst they're thinking about Magnus Bane, Izzy surprises everyone by showing them a party invitation for a party being hosted in Brooklyn by Magnus the Magnificent Warlock and the team decide to crash the party to find out if this is the same Magnus who could give Clary her answers.

In this chapter, Clary also gets to see a picture of Valentine and the Clave. Jace tells Clary about his father and how he taught him that "to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed."

Favourite Clary quotes:
Clary turned instant traitor against her gender. "Those girls on the other side of the car are staring at you."
Jace assumed an air of mellow gratification. "Of course they are," he said. "I am stunningly attractive."
"Haven't you ever heard that modesty is an attractive trait?"
"Only from ugly people," Jace confided. "The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it it belongs to the conceited. Like me" He winked at the girls,  who giggled and hid behind their hair.
(City of Bones)

"You stole my memories," Clary said. "You took them away from me. You took away who I was."
"That's not who you are!" Jocelyn cried, "I never wanted it to be who you were-"
"It doesn't matter what you wanted!" Clary shouted, "It is who I am! You took all that away from me and it didn't belong to you!"

(City of Glass)

By the time she came back to the training room, Isabelle and Jace had left the topic of dead Shadowhunters behind and had moved on to something Jace apparently found even more horrifying - Isabelle's date with Simon. "I can't believe he took you to an actual restaurant." Jace was on his feet now, putting away the floor mats and training gear while Isabelle leaned against the wall and played with her new gloves. "I assumed his idea of a date would be making you watch him play World of Warcraft with his nerd friends."
"I," Clary pointed out, "am one of his nerd friends, thank you."

(City of Fallen Angels)

"Take it," Clary said, looking at Jace. "Take it and kill either her or me. It's your choice."
Slowly Jace bent down and picked up the knife.

(City of Fallen Angels)

That was the problem with knowing someone so well, she thought. It was very hard to pretend around them, or to ignore it when they were pretending, even when it would be easier.
(City of Lost Souls)

Thank you guys for checking this read-a-long post today. Head over to TheBookWranglers for chapter 12 recap and favourite Jace quotes.

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Monday, 5 August 2013

Witch's Brew

Witch's Brew
(The Spellspinners of Mela County #1)
By Heidi R. Kling
The Spellspinners of Melas County is a fantasy YA romance series about a witch, a warlock, and their fight for their forbidden but prophesied love.

Once soulmates, the witch and warlock covens of the California coast have been estranged for a century. Raised to hate each other, their teenagers meet in the Solstice Stones, a magical battleground where they draw energy from each other to maintain their balance. 16 year olds Logan and Lily have spent years training for their first Stones…only to discover just days before that the enemy may not be what either of them had thought.

In Witch’s Brew, Lily is torn between her feelings for Logan and her coven’s need to know who—or what—he is. The young lovers race against time, their distrust for each other, and the powerful influence of their elders to unravel the mystery of their pasts before their future is destroyed.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:
‎From the first few chapters I was drawn into Witches brew. I've read many books about witches, about warlocks, about witches and warlocks, but never a story about witches versus warlocks. 
Lily is the leader of her coven and is preparing for the upcoming battle; also known as gleaning, where she will have to fight a warlock and from my understanding, only one can survive. But how can she win this fight when even her most basic spells are failing her? And not just Lily, her bestfriend is also feeling a reduced magical vibe... but they must overcome it and practice harder, because there is no way the 'evil' warlocks can be allowed to win.
Unexpectedly lily comes across a warlock, and despite her attempts to stay cautious and alert just in case he attempts to trick her, she feels at ease with him, almost safe. In fact she feels more than that, their energies react and theirs a pull that neither Lily nor Logan can explain. 
Soon after Lily discovers that theirs a curse that the elders have kept from the young witches, which is causing their powers to wane. And if the hundred year old curse isn't broken then the witches will lose their powers and become human again. 

I really enjoyed this story, and the way the warlocks were described as evil and the witches good, but we could see both sides having traits of light and darkness. I'm a bit afraid of Logan's 'father' as he seems to be too power hungry, trying to take away Logan's power in an attempt to reverse his ageing process. I suspect he's responsible for the voodoo doll too! 
I look forward to reading book 2 to find out more about this curse, and who Logan's real parents are and why is it that only Lily and Logan can breathe underwater; an uncanny ability that only they possess. 

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

She'd said, "I don't want you to think about what happens after, only to concentrate on what you can do before, to train, so that you will come home safely. Focus on strength, courage, and the greater good, which will come from doing your personal best. The rest will follow."
"I don't want to die," I'd said, swallowing back tears.
"Then don't," was her reply.

"I suppose this is goodbye," Logan said.
"I guess so," I said. "Thanks for not trying to kill me."
"It was my pleasure," he said, "not to try and kill you."
I surprised myself by raising a palm to Logan, a gesture of peace.
He held his own palm up to mine, taking the gesture further. Friendship.

"I've worked hard to get where I am. Besides, magic is all I've ever known. I see how humans live. I was there during Katrina, remember? It was a tragic mess- the worst of the human condition. I can transcend al that now. The inevitable death and dying. The rot. The struggle to work, reproduce, just to start heading downhill toward death? No thanks."

Orchid shrugged. "Look, we've been living in Melas for generations and generations. Not all humans are stupid. Most, sure. But not all. If that cotton-candy-head barista knows something I mean, who would believe him if he told? And who would he tell? The key to survival, Lily, is making sure the people who cold take you down never find out your secrets."

I avoided her eyes. "I don't want to feel anything for him."
I felt the weight of her words in the air, strong as her perfume. "I know it's scary. Feelings aren't something you want or don't want- they are something you have or don't. Every feeling is a gift. It means you are real."

A guy that could sport pink hair AND drive a pink car around town must be hugely firm in his masculinity. I told him so.
"What is pink if not a softer shade of red, right?"

"Perhaps out amulets were switched at birth."
Logan half-grinned, but his brow was still furrowed in thought. "If we're related, I'm going to kill someone." He laughed then. An honest, real, laugh. Then felt his fingers on my cheek, tipping my face to look into his eyes.
"If we're related, the universe has a seriously twisted sense of humour."