Favorite Tropes!

Let’s talk tropes: the things you can’t live with but you really can’t live without. Tropes in literature are some of the most polarizing topics. People love the ones that others hate, and hate the ones that other people love. And that’s completely fine! We all have our own opinions; we all have things we like and don’t like. Here, I’m going to talk about some of the tropes I actually like and I fully understand that this is all completely subjective so please don’t feel offended if I leave one of your favorite tropes off this list! Ultimately, I think it comes down to the execution, this is not completely black and white.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite tropes! (in no particular order)

Favorite Trope #1: Fake Dating

I’m a sucker for this trope! I’ll read basically anything that involves a couple fake dating. I just think it’s so cute when we all know that the two characters are going to end up together but they keep trying to deny their feelings after what starts out as a deal turns out to be so much more.

Some of my favorites:

Favorite Trope #2: Lost Royal

My sister and I have a huge obsession with royals. She’s more interested in the history of royalty and aristocracy is in the real world, while I get my fix from fiction. I think it might have something to do with living in the United States, royalty and monarchies are such an intriguing concept to us here. Because of this, I’m so much more inclined to pick up a book about royals. And if it’s about a royal who doesn’t know they’re royalty and they find out during the book? Even better. I mean, don’t we all kind of dream that we’d have our own Queen Clarisse Renaldi come into our lives and whisk us away to a castle in a magical land?

Some of my favorites:

Favorite Trope #3: Chosen One

Oh, the chosen one. This may be the most controversial trope on this list, but I had to include it anyway. I love prophecies and when a character is destined to be something they didn’t know they were supposed to be. I kind of love the chaos at the beginning when the chosen one is thrust into a situation they were never prepared for and we get to see them grow and adapt so they can save the world!! Some of you might be over this trope, but I’m fully here for it.

Some of my favorites:

Favorite Trope #4: Forbidden Love/Star-Crossed Lovers

Shout out Shakespeare for this one! I should be forbidden to read any more books with this trope because I love them so much. HAHA I got the jokes today! But in all seriousness, forbidden love and star-crossed lovers pull at my heartstrings in a way that other romance just doesn’t. I love the tension and the yearning and the longing. It hurts so good!!

Some of my favorites:

Do we have any of the same favorite tropes? What are some of your favorites that aren’t on my list? Let me know in the comments!

Queen of Air and Darkness: The Longest Book I’ve Ever Read

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 paws

**spoiler free**

Synopsis: Queen of Air and Darknes is the third and final book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. The battle between the Shadowhunters, Cohort and Faeries comes to a head in this action-packed conclusion. While one group of the Blackthorn family set out to find a cure for the ailing warlocks, Julian and Emma are sent on a mission to faerie in an attempt to hide the law they’ve broken. There, they stumble into a dark and hidden Shadowhunter world. What they find here will change the course of history in their own world; for better and for worse.

“Faith isn’t never having any doubts; it’s having what you need to overcome them.” 

So, okay, WOW. If there has ever been a series to contend with my absolute love and adoration for The Infernal Devices, it was this one. Cassandra Clare has done it again, folks. You can check out my reviews for the previous books in this trilogy, Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows!

The thoughtful and beautifully deep characters continued to suck me in in this third book! They’re each morally gray in their own way (except perfect little Tavvy) and we see so many of our main character maturing and growing to learn more about their world and those they share it with. One of my favorite things about this series is being able to now look back at the first book and see how much each character has changed since the very beginning and, holy cow, my babies have grown up so much.

Me caring for the Blackthorns as if they were my own family

I’ve become so connected to the Blackthorns, I just want to wrap them all up in fuzzy blankets and keep them safe forever. I’ll miss them until The Wicked Powers trilogy books start to come out in 2022/2023 (YIKES that’s far away).

Emma had a serious run for her money as Queen of the Sarcasm. We had Magnus making more appearances in this book, Jace with his Herondale charm and wit, and Kieran with his faerie sass. However, Emma is keeping her crown thanks to the following lines:

“Suddenly there was the explosive thunder of hooves, and two horses, one gray and one brown, bursting into the clearing. A faerie rider sat astride each. “Is this Faerie Grand Central?” said Emma, leaning her forehead against the tree.”

“The pier is one of the first places that the hellbeasts staked out,” Cameron said, glancing into the backseat. “Who knew that demons liked amusement parks?” Emma cleared her throat. “Mad for funnel cakes?”

Honorable mention to Kit for this line that I actually laughed out loud at!

“That’s right,” said Kit. He waved from the next booth. “I forgot my weapons. But I do have this fork.” He wiggled it. “You are so forked,” he said to Barnabas.”

This book was long. SO long, 912 pages to be exact. I think this is the longest book I’ve ever read. The length and the plot are what kept this from being a 5 paw read for me. It was just. so. slow. at the beginning of the book! It took me until about halfway to actually get invested in what was going on and this just made the book feel even longer. But once things got going, boy did they really take off. The second half almost made up for the limited action and drama in the beginning. The different paths of each character converged in a huge battle, where Cassie’s writing really shines the best.

I honestly cannot believe that this is only a trilogy. At the end of this book, the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders is at a time of major changes and shifts in power. And there it will stay for the next 3-4 years until we get to revisit it again. The fifth Shadowhunters series, The Wicked Powers, will be focusing on Kit and Ty. However, we still have Cassie’s upcoming Shadowhunters trilogy, The Last Hours, to read before TWP. I’m super excited for TLH because, well, Will Herondale, but I’m eagerly anticipating the time when I can rejoin the Blackthorns, Emma, Jace, Clary, Magnus and Alec again.

Another great book, another piece of my heart stolen by a Shadowhunter family.

Let me know in the comments below whether you’ve read any books in this series and which one was your favorite!

September TBR!

1. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (ARC)

I won this ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway a while back! The release date is coming up (October 1st) and this sounds like a super cute read so I wanted to get to it before its release.

2. The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore –Lorien Legacies #6 (Audiobook)

I’ve been working on this series on audiobook for a few months now and I’m so excited to be getting towards the end; I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen!

3. United as One by Pittacus Lore –Lorien Legacies #7 (Audiobook)

This is the last book of the series, see above!

4. Unspoken by Celia McMahon (ARC)

Celia and Parliament Press were kind enough to send me an e-ARC of this book and I’m so excited to read it! It comes out this month, on the 17th, so be sure to look out for it!

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I’m going to admit something that may be pretty shocking…I’ve never read a Leigh Bardugo book. I know, I know, I’m a failure as a YA reader. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much by not reading her books so I can’t wait to take my first step into the Grishaverse!

That’s my list for September! Have you read any of these books? What’s your TBR for September?

ARC Mini Reviews

First I want to say thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for these ARC reads!

Here are three mini *spoiler free* reviews on ARCs that I received in the last few weeks hope you enjoy!

Title: Mooncakes

Author: Suzanne Walker

Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Release Date: October 15th, 2019

Rating: 5/5 paws

“A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.” -Goodreads description

Mooncakes is a beautiful graphic novel about magic, love, family and friendships. We follow our Chinese-American main characters, Nova and Tam, as they set out to save their town. This was such a fun and cute read! I loved the characters and the artwork is gorgeous. The scenery reminded me so much of home and my falls spent growing up in New England! This book covers so many diverse topics from queer, hard-of-hearing witches to non-binary werewolves.

This was so heartwarming and sweet; I have ALL the feels! Mooncakes is the perfect read to get you into the fall mood!

Title: Michigan vs. The Boys

Author: Carrie S. Allen

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Rating: 4/5 paws

When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score. -Goodreads description

Trigger Warning: Abuse, Drinking, Drugs

Michigan vs. The Boys follows the story of Michigan Manning as she tries to make it on the boys’ hockey team after budget cuts lead to the end of her own girls’ team. She quickly learns that the boys are not all that inviting as she endures pranks and hazing from her new teammates. She now must decide if speaking up is worth risking her dream.

This book was so much different than the typical YA, sports contemporaries that I read. This wasn’t a feel-good, romance-powered book. Instead, it covered real-life issues and centered around female empowerment. Michigan is a strong female character and there are many instances included in the novel where we see females supporting other females. I felt really connected to Michigan, and found myself rooting for her from the very beginning of the story. While this book isn’t a light-hearted read, it addresses real, societal problems that women are currently battling. Michigan vs. The Boys opens up the important discussion of sexism in our world today and I hope that anyone who has felt the way Michigan did can read this book and feel understood.

Title: Cupid’s Match

Author: Lauren Palphreyman

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

He’s mythologically hot, a little bit wicked, and almost 100% immortal. And he’ll hit you right in the heart . . . ” -Goodreads description

What would happen if Cupid ran his own matchmaking business that accidentally matched himself with a normal, teenaged girl? Well, Lila Black is about to find out.

I found that this book was a quick, fun and entertaining read! I really enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery; I always love it when I feel like I can vividly picture the setting the author is trying to create. However, the pace was a bit fast and it took a while for me to connect with the characters. I love mythology so I wish that we got to see some more of that! It was included towards the end, but I would have liked to see it mixed in more from the beginning.

That’s it for now! Which of these books are you most looking forward to? What other upcoming books are you looking forward to this year?

Have a Paw-some Day!

Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

**spoiler free**

Title: Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 5/5 paws

Synopsis: Lord of Shadows picks up where Lady Midnight left off. The Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs continue to attempt to navigate the Cold War between the Nephilim and the Faerie as they fight to keep their family together. Meanwhile, an extremist group of Shadowhunters, deemed the Cohort, are rising in power with their agenda to force all Downworlders to be registered so that they be more easily tracked. Tensions are high, and the price of power is even higher in this sequel novel in The Dark Artifices trilogy.

“Do you know why I’m sure? Because when this universe was born, when it blasted into existence in fire and glory, everything that would ever exist was created. Our souls are mad of that fire and glory, of the atoms of it, the fragments of stars. Everyone’s are, but I believe ours, yours and mine, are made from the dust of the same star. That’s why we’ve always been drawn to each other like magnets, all our lives. All the pieces of us belong together.” 

Another Cassandra Clare book that I loved! Will you ever get tired of reading reviews where all I do is praise her? Will I ever get tired of writing them? Let’s hope not because that’s all that we’re going to get when it comes to her books. If she ever writes a book that I don’t like, that will be the first sign of a true apocalypse.

This book was amazing; it made me happy, sad, frustrated, devastated, amused and everything else in between.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be pretty stone-cold sometimes. I’m not one to be super emotional; I think I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry. And this book was one of them.

I’m in need of a hedgehug.

My emotions were ALL over the place with this book and I think that’s really because of how Cassandra Clare writes her characters. She makes you want to root for her protagonists, and hate her villains. They feel something, and that creates an immediate and genuine reaction in you. I think this is definitely emphasized by the fact that this is the second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy and I have now spent over 1300 pages with these characters but I still want more of them.

I cannot possibly go into detail about every character that I love without making this a book itself so I’m going to stick with the little segment I did in my Lady Midnight review and give you some of my favorite quotes from my sarcastic queen, Emma Carstairs.

“You’re my mother’s sister?” he said incredulously. “I think they call that your aunt,” said Emma.

“Why are you on the floor?” “I’ve heard rolling out of bed in the morning helps you build up resistance to surprise attacks,” Emma said, lying sprawled on the hardwood.

“We seek,” said Fal. “And we find. We are the searchers…In all our lives there has only been one thing we have sought and not found.” “A sense of humor?” Emma suggested.

I love how there are so many different storylines included that all converged at the end. The formatting of the plot kind of reminded me of season three of Stranger Things, with each separate group having their own missions throughout the season but then all coming together at the end to fight the big battle. There are so many different dynamics created by Cassandra Clare and the characters she decides to group together in different situation but my favorite had to be Kit, Livvy and Ty. The younger siblings were begging to contribute in the first novel and in this one we finally see everything they have to offer as they earn responsibility and trust from their older counterparts. The pacing of the plot is literally to die for. It’s all action, adventure and fighting and then there are these short periods where you feel content and like you can just breathe for a minute and not worry too much and then BAM! you get hit with more drama and I was just constantly on my toes which I love in a book.

The only thing I didn’t love about the plot was that we got left with a cliff hanger at the end of the first book that took sooooo long to be addressed in this book. We didn’t hear it anything about it mentioned until page 276. Talk about a tease.

After Lady Midnight I was ready to jump right into Lord of Shadows, but after this one…I think I need a little more time to wrap my head around everything that just went down. So I’ll probably pick it up in about 20 minutes lol.

Have a paw-some day!

Booking on a Budget

I’m a college student; I am the definition of a financial struggle. You want me to pay for school, books (textbooks –that is), food, and some sort of social life while giving me the enticing opportunity to online shop every day during class? My poor bank account is SHAKING.

While I try to save my money to pay off my endless student loans, new books are constantly calling my name. Thankfully, there are so many options of where you can buy cheap books, or even get them for free!

I just want to let you guys know that this is not a sponsored post, these are just the different resources that I’ve found and personally use a lot for my reading!

  • Book Outlet (https://bookoutlet.com/)I love Book Outlet with a burning passion. They have discounted books in every genre and they’re actually popular, well-known books! You can get paper back or hardcover, in good condition or a “scratch and dent” book that shows it’s been loved a little before. Any time I feel like treating myself to some new physical books, this is my first stop for discounted reads!
  • Thriftbooks (https://www.thriftbooks.com/) This is another discounted book site! This site has more options than Book Outlet, but it seems to me that the books aren’t discounted as much. The differences in discount mostly vary by book, how recently it was published and what condition it is in.
  • Hoopla (https://www.hoopladigital.com/) This a website and app where you can rent audiobooks, ebooks, movies, TV shows or movies for free with your library card! Each library is a little different depending on the contract they have, so with my card I can rent up to 5 items every month but I have heard that some people can get anywhere up to 10 rentals a month. You get the item on your computer/phone for 21 days. If you don’t finish your book by then, no worries, you can rent the same item as many times in a row as you want as long as you haven’t met your maximum rentals for the month. My dad actually introduced me to this app so shout-out Dad!
  • Libby (https://meet.libbyapp.com/) Here’s another app where you can rent audiobooks, ebooks or magazines with your library card! You can have 10 items at a time on this app. I have found that the selection on Libby is much larger than Hoopla BUT Libby only has a certain number of copies available at once. If there are only 3 copies of the ebook you want to rent, but all of them are “checked out” you can put a hold on the ebook and you have to wait the estimated time before you can get the ebook. Hoopla, on the other hand, allows for automatic rentals of any materials listed on the app.
  • Bookbub (https://www.bookbub.com/) This is a website where you can sign up to receive daily emails containing ebook deals on Amazon. You can input your favorite genres and they’ll email you every day with titles of discounted ebooks and some free ones too!
  • Chirp (https://www.chirpbooks.com) This is a partner company of BookBub! They use the same process as BookBub but will send you discounted audiobooks instead of ebooks.
  • Giveaways!
    • Goodreads: If you haven’t checked out the Goodreads Giveaways, please do! A lot of people enter them so they can be difficult to win but I’ve won a few and they’re helpful if for nothing other than to expose you to new books!

I hope that this helps any of you out there who are looking for new ways to read books without breaking the bank!

Have you tried any of these book resources? Do you know of any good places to get books while keeping your budget in mind? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a paw-some day!

Book Review: Lady Midnight

Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 paws

Synopsis: Lady Midnight revisits the Shadowhunter world five years after the end of City of Heavenly Fire. We follow Emma Carstairs as she seeks revenge for the murder of her parents, along with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, as he steps into a fatherly role in order to hold his family together. Based in sunny Los Angeles, Emma and Julian navigate the tense atmosphere created by the conflict between Nephilim and Faeries as an unexpected member of the Blackthorn family is used as a bargaining chip between the two groups.

“Lex malla, lex nulla. A bad law is no law.” 

I loved this book! Are we shocked? I mean, it’s Cassandra Clare. If you’re still reading her books at this point, I’m assuming that you’ve probably liked her past ones, and will continue to like everything she writes. I’m in it for the long run, Cassy.

Because I loved so much in this book, let’s start off with everything I liked!

I love Emma and the sarcastic queen that she is. So feisty, so fiery and I’m HERE for a powerful, unapologetic, female character. Her sarcasm is amazing and great comic relief throughout the book, even in some of the most tense situations without her coming off as insensitive. Here are some of my favorite Emma quotes:

“That’s not the spirit of the Law, Emma. Remember? ‘The Law is hard but it is the Law.’” “I thought it was ‘the Law is annoying, but it is also flexible.’”

“I don’t want to die on the Pacific Coast Highway!” Sterling wailed. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Emma’s voice dropped acid. “Is there a different highway you’d like to die on? BECAUSE WE CAN ARRANGE THAT.”

“Deprive me of my chance to regain Annabel, and you will pay with agony,” he snarled. “Can’t be worse than the agony of hearing you talk,” Emma said.

So basically, she’s my spirit animal.

If we talk about Emma, we have to talk about her other half, Julian. He’s known to most as an artsy, gentle older brother but he would do anything to protect those he loves. Now that his parents are gone, and his uncle is an absentee leader of the Institute, Julian feels like he has to take care of everyone in his life; from his siblings, to his uncle, to Emma. It’s clear that he’s struggling under the pressure of all of this but he can’t talk to anyone about it because all he wants to do is make sure his family is safe and feels loved. His four younger siblings have become like his own children. This makes Julian feel lesser because he’s always taking care of them and telling them what to do rather than being a fun brother for them (omg my poor baby someone give him a vacation!!). He’s loyal, loving, protective, and in way over his head but he’s just doing the best he can –how can you not love him?

We meet a new character, Christina Rosales, in this book who I think will end up being one of my favorites! (Did I just curse her to die later on in this series? Actually, don’t answer that) She’s a Shadowhunter from Mexico who is taking her travel year to visit and learn in the LA Institute. She’s a sweet friend to Emma, and someone who always knows the right thing to say. She an Emma click immediately, but Christina continues to hide some secrets about her life in Mexico. Still, she quickly became close to the Blackthorns and was a reliable friend to all of them. I can’t wait to learn more about her (and her “Perfect Diego”) in the next books!

Overall, I love how well the characters are developed and how many layers each of them has. They all serve their own purpose in the story and aren’t just there as fillers. I feel like I could write a book for every side character just based on all the information we get in Lady Midnight.

Cassandra Clare included flashbacks as well as visits from old friends! The parallels made between the flashbacks and the present time were evident as they were used to either explain something that’s currently happening or to point out how much has changed. I’m picky about my flashbacks but I felt they were used really well here.

Now let’s get to the juicy stuff: romance. In some ways, the romance is predictable and in some ways, it’s not. You definitely know what’s going to happen in a *certain* situation but it feels like such a slow burn. The alternating POVs and the dramatic irony were so key for this because you already know how everyone feels but the actual characters don’t. So you’re just waiting and waiting until the moment finally happens and the buildup was spot on for me.

I may have been able to guess about some things in the book, but a few things caught me by surprise too. I honestly wasn’t expecting any love triangles in this one (why? -I’m not totally sure to be honest, wishful thinking maybe) but NOPE. We’ve got a love triangle people and I’m just gonna embrace it. We also have fake dating, one of my favorite tropes, but this fake dating is going to hurt one of my favorite characters so I’m very conflicted on this specific situation. And this is just going to lead us to another love triangle/square/pentagon, so bring on the heartache!!

Now, onto the (few) things I didn’t completely enjoy about this book.

It took me a while to get all the Blackthorn kids straight; longer than I would have expected. The older siblings I had a good grasp on from previous books, but the four younger kids gave me a bit of a hard time. I couldn’t remember who was what age and what each of their personalities and interests were for about the first 75-100 pages. I feel like we got an overload of details about each kid at the beginning of the book, but it got sorted out later on.

Let’s talk villains (this may be semi-spoilery, no explicit spoilers but it gives away things that might make you guess a spoiler so better safe than sorry). Why can’t everyone just be genuine? Why are there so many villains who act for so long like they care about the main characters just to turn their back on them when the time is right? The elaborate scheme of fakeness just seems old and played out to me, especially seeing as a similar situation occurred in The Mortal Instruments. I’m just over this source of evil, like you really want me to believe that someone would put all that time and energy into helping people and pretending to care for them, knowing full well that they were going to sabotage them in the end? Mayne I just don’t have that villainous mind, but this seems wild.

All-in-all, this was another amazing book from someone who I will throw all of my money at for new books! There’s a huge reveal at the end that I did NOT see coming and I can’t wait to see what it means for the future! And that cliffhanger…darn you Cassandra Clare, darn you to heck. But lucky me, I’m about to pick up Lord of Shadows right now!

One tip I’ll leave you with: try to read Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy before reading this! I almost skipped it because I’m not always a fan of short stories but the events in Lady Midnight make a lot more sense if you get the background on everything from Simon’s stories in the Shadowhunter Academy. You can find my review of the book here!

Have a Paw-some day!

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