city of fallen angels

A to Z Bookish Survey.

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I recently came across a version of THIS reader survey by The Perpetual Page Turner while reading a blog tour post on THIS site about MY FORMER TEACHER‘s new novel. It seemed like a really fun and simple blog topic, so I thought I would give it a try. I hope you enjoy my answers and feel free to answer it yourself!

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Author you’ve read the most books from:

Back in eighth and ninth grade, when I was a weepy little 13-year-old, I loved novels that took readers and sent them on emotional roller coasters, so I read just about every novel Lurlene McDaniel had ever written. Note: my bookish masochism has not gone away. McDaniel, publish more, please?

Best sequel ever:

Do not let the reviews of this woman’s works fool you, Override by Heather Anastasiu, is a perfect follow-up to Glitch. In some ways, I would even say that it is a better book than the first because it really steps up the action and makes readers settle in for the long haul.

Currently reading:

The last semester of my undergrad degree has officially begun and coursework is eating my life. So, I’m currently reading The Art of Democracy: A Concise History of Popular Culture in the United States by Jim Cullen.

Drink of choice while reading:

Agua, eau, wasser, uisce! In other words, water.

E-reader or physical book:

I definitely prefer reading a physical book. I mean, you completely miss out on the old and new book smells if you use an e-reader.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:

Without a doubt, I would have dated David from Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy. He’s adventurous and natural, but also intuitive and contemplative. What’s not to like?

Glad you gave this book a chance:

The Christy Miller Collection (and the companion trilogy, Christy and Todd: College Years) by Robin Jones Gunn was really an example of me taking a chance on a book. At the time I read it, I was fresh out of Catholic school, and even though I didn’t detest religion, I was really reluctant to allow any more discussion of it into my life. When I finally picked up Christy Miller’s story, I just couldn’t put it down again. Christy and Todd are such addictive characters and

Hidden gem book:

I haven’t actually seen this book mentioned much in the blogosphere and it definitely should be. Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin is a truly incredible story of two teenagers finding their own ways amid the sexual revolution of the 1980s. When you consider that the story is inspired by the true story of interactions between Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal it simply becomes all the more extraordinary. I have yet to see another book that speaks about the effects of hate crimes, prejudice, and discrimination in such a vivid and beautiful way.

Important moment in your reading life:

Reading Just Listen by Sarah Dessen for the first time way back in my freshman year of high school was a big thing for me. I think I needed that book as much as it needed me.

Just finished:

Someone, please, read Reached by Ally Condie. I need to fangirl with someone!

Kinds of books you won’t read:

I will read almost anything from self-help books to science fiction, but I just cannot stand nature photography books. I get so restless paging through books that are just filled with pictures! There’s nothing wrong with photography and I love physical photo albums, but I have no patience for books filled with sunrises and landscapes.

Longest book you’ve read:

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. 1,463 pages of awesome.

Major book hangover because of:

The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. How am I suppose to deal with an ending like that? Gah! I needed the next book at least 5 hours ago.

Number of bookcases you own:

Technically I have 1 bookcase and 1 entertainment center for books in my room, but my books are actually spread all over the house. At least if a book thief ever pops in, they can’t get to them all in one fell swoop!

One book you have read multiple times:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I may have, kind of, sort of, seriously, read that book more than 20 times since it was published. I may have also read “The Prince’s Tale” alone at least double that amount.

Preferred place to read:

I actually love reading somewhere that isn’t quiet or peaceful, like the living room with my family, a hospital cafeteria, or a park. But, at the same time, I don’t want anyone to actually talk to me while I’m reading. Sorry!

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“In the absence of real thunder, he’s making his own” (Ally Condie, Matched).

Reading regret:

I wish I hadn’t let college courses get in the way of my book reviewing. 21 course hours this semester and frequent book reviewing is totally possible, right? RIGHT?

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series):

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Three of your all-time favorite books:

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (It’s technically a poetry collection, but, I’m going to be stubborn, claim it as a book, and stick my tongue out at anyone who disagrees.)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

Unapologetic fangirl for:

Divergent by Veronica Roth…err, well, actually, the whole of the Divergent trilogy and the accompanying short stories. Dauntless for the win!

Very excited for this release more than all the others:

I am indescribably excited for the release of Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I need to know what is outside of the fence!

Worst bookish habit:

I’m awful about not noticing the world while I’m reading! If I’m reading a good book, I’m pretty sure an earthquake, hurricane, and sharknado could happen, and the only think I might do is grip my book tighter so it wouldn’t get pulled away.

X marks the spot–start at the top left of your book shelf and pick the 27th book:

I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier is the 27th book on my shelf, but it is much higher on my favorites list! Cormier does an excellent job of delving into the world of psychology, while still writing the book at a level that can be understood by almost any age group.

Your latest book purchase:

The History and Theory of Rhetoric by James Herrick. Okay, so maybe it was a textbook purchase, but I’m having a “first day of school mental hangover,” so my memory is unwilling to go any further back to remember my last fun reading purchase.

Zzz-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Requiem by Lauren Oliver. I could not handle the feels, so sleep was not allowed to come between the conclusion of that trilogy and I.

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If any of you do the survey as well, I would love to read what you write. Post the linkage in the comments. Cheers!

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10 Books Reviews for 10 Days Until Fall Semester.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

5 out of 5

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Clary Fray has been officially introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters and nearly immediately she is faced with a comatose mother,  thoughts about Jace that don’t lend well to her new knowledge that they’re siblings separated long ago, and a villainous and possibly insane father named Valentine. On top of everything else, Clary must worry about murdered Downworlders, the romantic side of Simon, and figuring out the runes that seem to pop into her head at random. The plot moves quickly, the characters show genuine development, and readers who are hooked from the first book of the series won’t be disappointed. However, as a minor criticism, the book truly hit you where it hurts by throwing incest into the mix; at times I found myself wanting to shake Clare just for putting us all through it. But, trust me on this, guys, it’s a book that is worth the character shipping anxiety.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

5 out of 5

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If you’re into breaking and entering (with regard to secret cities), prejudice against Downworlders (metaphor much), the dark side of Shadowhunters (we all just love the dark), a mysterious guy named Sebastian (sigh), and toeing the line between friendly and incestuous (eek), then this book is right up your dark and creature-filled alley. Valentine and his allies have begun a civil war, leaving Downworlders and Shadowhunters unsure how to react and Clary Fray certain that she must harness her power with runes to save the Shadowhunters’ Glass City. If readers go into this series with any expectations, they are sure to be shattered and recreated at least 20 times before they’ve even read through the first 100 pages. Once again, Clare manages to combine a bit of reality, a dash of myth, and a heap of world-building to create a truly unique experience.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

4 out of 5

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So, what does one do when the war is over and everything should be going back to normal? Well, if you’re Clary Fray, you help plan a wedding that’s been several decades coming, begin training as a Shadowhunter about sixteen years late, allow a rift to develop between you, your boyfriend, and your best friend, and generally have your world fall apart all over again. The Mortal Instruments series was very clearly intended to be a “three shots and done” endeavor, but for some crazy, wonderful, fan-pleasing reason, Clare decided to take it a few steps further. The issue with this continuance is that the series ends of feeling disjointed and broken, with the first three books an entity apart from City of Fallen Angels and the plot it introduces. While I adore Clary, Jace, and the rest of their leather-wearing, weapons-wielding crew, and this book is definitely worth reading, readers beware. Go in with a clear mind and an openness to an entirely new plot or you’re bound to end up whining and crying on your sofa with a tub of ice cream.

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky Trilogy) by Veronica Rossi

4 out of 5

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Aria needs to find the Still Blue to get Perry’s nephew back , Perry needs to lead the Tides as their Blood Lord or they risk dying out, and Aria and Perry NEED to be together despite their seemingly opposite pursuits. I have never seen a book that so thoroughly and perfectly describes and exemplifies the needs of the various characters, as well as how those needs interact and often conflict. Additionally, Rossi must be commended for her efforts and general success in incorporating the needs and pursuits of secondary characters, Roar and Liv, without casting aside those of the primary characters. Rather than characters canceling each other out as many second books mistakenly do when expanding the character base, Rossi was able to create a storyline wherein they truly coexist (even if certain characters…*cough* Liv *cough*…aren’t allowed as much growth as others). Readers will not be disappointed by this book, but they might be nervous about the long wait for the next installment–come on, Rossi, January of 2014 is too far away for my book addiction to deal!

Shiver (Linger Trilogy) by Maggie Stiefvater

3 out of 5

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You know those RomComs and RomDrams where you literally want to reach into the film and make everything okay for the key characters? That’s how I felt about this installment in the Shiver trilogy: Grace and Sam needed a different set of hands to manipulate them or at least guide them on their way because Stiefvater’s simply weren’t cutting it. Sam is human and maladjusted, Grace is sick and hiding it from everyone, Cole is a broken human hiding behind a wolf mask, and Isabelle detests the wolves after the death of her brother but she just can’t seem to stay away. While this book certainly made valuable contributions to the trilogy overall–most importantly insight into Grace’s childhood experience with the wolves and explaining Sam’s back story overall–but, it also seems to have attempted to do too many things at once. With so many different directions to go, the storyline and readers experiencing it might feel a bit frazzled even if they do appreciate the plot development.

Forever (Shiver Trilogy) by Maggie Stiefvater

4 out of 5

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By the conclusion of this trilogy, Sam and Grace have effectively switched places, the problem is also the cure, a cast of new characters detracts from the old, and it seems as though Stiefvater has decided that ambiguity is her specialty. While a slight improvement over the second book, this third and final book continues the trend of approaches a plot from too many different angles at once. At times, the book  felt like a tedious chore–rather, it was not so much the plot’s conclusion that was important, but rather a personal devotion to not leaving a book unfinished once started. Yet, even once the end was reached, the plot felt unsettled and wracked by the lack of a definitive resolution. My biggest suggestion: go with the flow and don’t focus on the details during the reading. If you stick to the bigger picture, you’ll have a better reading experience; you might miss a couple of side stories, but at least you won’t feel like you’ve lost as much when the book comes to an unsatisfying end.

Override (Glitch Trilogy) by Heather Anastasiu

5 out of 5

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I was incredibly annoyed some months ago when I read Glitch, the first book in this work-in-progress trilogy, and saw that reviewers tore it apart like homemade confetti. If I’m honest, I went off on a bit of a tangent when that happened, and I promptly began to rebut every bad review I saw. Well, this follow-up to the first book only serves to prove my point: Anastasiu knows what she is doing and she truly can deliver! Moving beyond the confines of the Community and the slower pace that world-building can sometimes include, Anastasiu truly allows the character of Zoe to develop and grow into her world, becoming a part of it, rather existing as a separate and one-dimensional entity. Through endeavors in strengthening the Resistance, fighting the authority of the Community, and developing a growing cast of superhuman fighters, the story literally and figuratively moves above the surface and becomes three-dimensional.

Crossed (Matched Trilogy) by Ally Condie

5 out of 5

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After confusion regarding Society’s first Match for her, Cassia rebelled against a life without choices, and decided to choose for herself. In this second installment, Cassia has ventured to the Outer Provinces of society in search for the love that she was torn from because of Society’s harsh restrictions. Told in alternating points of view, this book allows insight into Ky’s search for a better future, Cassia’s wish to find a way to fight the wrongs of the past, and, through them both, a peak into how significant Cassia’s first match and old best friend, Xander, truly is in society’s future. I’m hesitant to say much about this book because I feel as though even the most vague comments would reveal too much and take away from the wonderful experience that Condie was able to create and invites readers to enjoy. Thus, my only recommendation is to read this one as soon as possible because you won’t regret it. (Plus, I need more people to fangirl with about it.)

Requiem (Delirium Trilogy) by Lauren Oliver

5 out of 5

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First there was Lena: insightful, strong, and illegally in love with the idea of love since the day her “ill” mother first mentioned the idea. Then there was Alex: a boy from the outside who enticed Lena with ideas of a world where one’s emotions were purely one’s own. And, finally, there was Julian: beautiful and nearly perfect, but considered “faulty” in a society where, if surgery cannot remove one’s emotions, the person is an unnecessary. Between the three of them is a love triangle and a struggle for survival that none of them expected to come about. Now, having all escaped the emotionless society and escaped back into the Wilds, the three dedicate themselves to the resistance. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this storyline is that, in spite of the theme being that of love and the intrinsic necessity of emotions overall, the characters do not lose themselves to love, nor is the trilogy a love story. Instead, Oliver’s is a tale of finding oneself in the world that surrounds you and realizing that, no matter what society says, it is society that is flawed, not you. While the conclusion is mildly unsatisfying and will not bring the closure that love story aficionados will crave, the story in itself is sublime and I would not change the ending for the world. I urge everyone to read this trilogy even if it is the only reading you do this year.

Asunder (Newsoul Trilogy) by Jodi Meadows

5 out of 5

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Ana is the only Newsoul in seemingly all of existence, and ever since Templedark, that fact has become even more significant, putting her in increasingly more danger as the number of Darksouls is counted and fear of more Newsouls increases. In addition to such internal conflict within Heart, sylph are also acting in new ways and dragons frighten even the seemingly invincible character that is Sam. With her very existence at risk, and the existence of everyone else so uncertain, Ana has to learn to defend herself better and find her true purpose quicker, all while trying to save those that may very well want her dead. At its core, Meadows presents an existential crisis of mammoth proportions, as well as an exploration of how age, history, and our own choices shape our souls. When I wrote about the first book in the trilogy, I already knew that I was attached to Ana’s character and needed to see her through to the end of her story, but this installment has only intensified my attachment. If I had a time machine, I would jump ahead to January of 2014 just to get my hands on a copy of Infinite.

Now, to conclude what seems to have become a parade of science fiction and dystopian books from series and trilogies–I don’t know what was up with my reading list but I haven’t read a single one shot book lately–I hope that you will check out some of these books and have as good an experience as I had. If I were to choose just one, I would hope that you would give any of the books from the Delirium trilogy a shot, but I truly wish you would try them all. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below and get the conversation going. Happy reading!