Thursday, 30 June 2016


So, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare was probably my most highly anticipated book of 2016.
And how could it not be?
A few years ago, I completely immersed myself into the world of the Shadowhunters, reading and rereading (and rereading again!) both the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices series.
I waited (not so) patiently for City of Heavenly Fire to wrap up the series in 2014, but since then, I've felt like I've just been waiting for the new Dark Artifices series.
Of course, we had the Bane Chronicles and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and who could forget the new Shadowhunters TV show?! But none of those things really brought me completely back into the Shadowhunter world...
Until now!

March finally arrived (oops - this post has been quite a while in the making!) and Lady Midnight was in my arms, just where it belonged!
And here it is now..!

Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare
Published: March 2016, by Simon & Schuster
Length: 698 pages
Genre: YA, Urban-Fantasy

My Rating: 5 STARS!!

Lady Midnight is set 5 years after the events of the Mortal Instruments Series, in Los Angeles. Emma Carstairs, is no longer the child in mourning you may remember from City of Heavenly Fire. She is now a fierce young woman who has sworn vengeance on the deaths of her parents. But first, she must discover what really happened to them that night. Why were they targets and what did the strange markings in an old faerie language on their bodies really mean? Along with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma is intent on finding out. But first, they must encounter a series of strange, demonic killings in Los Angeles, some of which may link closer to her than she realises...

What can be said about this book without spoiling it in so many ways..?
Well, first of all, it was fantastic. It was the kind of fantastic that leaves you sitting in a pile of awe after closing the final page. The kind of fantastic that makes you want to cry of happiness (which I may or may not have actually done). The kind of fantastic that makes you feel so jealous because you know you will never be able to write something as phenomenal as this book was.
Need I really say more?!

To be perfectly honest, I don't want to go into a lot of detail about Lady Midnight because I do not want to spoil the book for anybody. But what I will say is that it was not what I expected.
Lady Midnight definitely had a different feeling to it in comparison to The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, which I'm glad about. Cassandra Clare has received a lot of criticism about the sheer number of books she has managed to write in the same universe as each other, with the same creatures and some of the same characters. I do not agree with the criticism in this respect; frankly, Cassie could bring out a thousand books with Shadowhunters in and I would read each and every one of them. And then I'd probably reread them a few times too.
Since City of Bones was published in 2007, Cassie's writing and story-telling has evolved so much and has transformed from the 'slightly-above-average' level to the 'supreme-writing-queen' level it is today. I can't complain about her writing one bit; I am completely in awe of it!

In Lady Midnight, we're introduced to a bucket-load of new characters, which, I will admit, I was initially a little apprehensive about. Of course, we do meet the majority of these characters in City of Heavenly Fire, but they've grown up a lot since then. Since we had been with Clary and Jace for six books before these, I was a little concerned about how I would react to our new main characters, Emma Carstairs, Jules, and the rest of the Blackthorns. But I needn't have worried. We were introduced to these characters in a way that make it feel like we'd known them forever. I 'bonded' with all of the characters right from the start, and yes, I did miss not having Clary and Jace around so much, but I really enjoyed the fact that they were still mentioned and made a couple of appearances!
I loved Emma so much as a main character. She was bright and vibrant but also fierce and protective. In fact, I loved all of the characters in this book. They were perfectly well-rounded characters - what more can be said?

Like I have already said, the writing in these books has evolved so much over time, as have the complexity of the storylines. Whereas I would class The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices as more 'Action Fantasy', Lady Midnight definitely seemed to be a Fantasy thrown in with a Murder Mystery type story, which I really loved. It was so well done, and every page left me wanting more and more and more! This in particular was complimented well by the mystery side of the novel, which was a little different but still completely and utterly enjoyable!

I found the aspect of the evolving relationship between Emma and Jules really interesting; we've already been told that parabatai cannot fall in love, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how Cassie pulls it all off. I do suspect though, that like with all Cassandra Clare books, hearts will be broken!

I absolutely cannot wait until Lord of Shadows is set to release because this book has left so many cliff-hangers and there are so many questions I need answers to! Next April needs to come around faster so that I can get my hands on the beautiful book.

I would recommend Lady Midnight to anyone. Really, ANYONE!! You probably could go into Lady Midnight without reading the other two series, but I wouldn't recommend it as it spoils the ending of City of Heavenly Fire, and there are things that could be a little hard to understand for someone who has not yet read any other Shadowhunter books. In terms of a reading order for all of the Shadowhunter books, everyone seems to have their own opinion but my preference would be reading them in publication order; so reading The Infernal Devices between the later books in The Mortal Instruments. This is the order in which they were intended to be read, and if you've read both the series you'll know why that is.
But whichever order you read them, I just recommend that you do read them!! These books are beyond worth the hype surrounding them, and I don't understand how people still haven't heard of them!!!


Back in April, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to meet Cassandra Clare while she was visiting the UK on her Lady Midnight tour. Cassandra Clare is one of the authors I have always wanted to have the chance to meet, since her books were some of the first to really get me into reading. So when the chance arose for me to join a few hundred other fans in a bookshop, I definitely wasn't going to say no!
I must say, this was the most hectic book signing I have ever been to. After driving 2 hours to get to the bookshop, we noticed that the queue for the signing had already started... 7 hours before the event!
We then proceeded to make the biggest mistake, by deciding that they queue probably wouldn't grow much in an hour and we would have plenty of time to go and grab some lunch and maybe do a bit of shopping...

My gorgeous signed copy!!
On arriving back to Waterstones, we realised how much of a mistake that had been since over 200 people had joined the queue since we saw it before. So, we joined the queue, and then came the waiting... The cold, miserable waiting on the streets of the city centre, surrounded by damp cigarettes and wet chewing gum on the pavements. We waited like this for 5 hours.
Finally, Cassandra Clare arrived and we started moving closer to the shop in which the signing would be held. After a further 2 hours of waiting inside the shop, it was finally our turn and we could go and meet her... We probably all looked bedraggled and homeless by the time she actually saw us, but I don't think anyone cared! We got our books signed and in a moment of dazed star-struck-ness, we forgot the questions we had planned to ask her. But it was all okay... We had got our books signed!!!

I must say, this signing was a lot more hectic and tiring in comparison to the others I have been to, and due to the huge numbers of people there (I think there were around 600!!), there was not time to stay and chat with the author or have our photos taken with her, but I still did enjoy it all, and I have so much admiration for Cassandra Clare being able to sit for so long without a single break and sign for us!! So thank you Cassie!!

That's all I have for this post but I'll be back with another very soon!
Did you get to meet Cassandra Clare on her tour? I'd love to hear your meet-up stories!!

Charlotte xxx

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Girl on the Train | Book Review

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
Published: Jan 2015, by Black Swan
Length: 409 pages
Genre: Crime Thriller

My Rating: 4 Stars

I want to start out by saying that I don't usually read many crime fiction novels at all. I generally find myself slightly bored by the arguable 'repetitive' nature of books in this genre, but then find myself unable to sleep afterwards through sheer terror of being murdered in the middle of the night... So over the years, I've learnt to avoid these kinds of books!
However, every now and then, a crime thriller comes along and really appeals to me, so they make quite a nice change to my usual romance or fantasy books.
The Girl on the Train did just that. I had been drawn in to the story through the huge amount of hype surrounding it, so my expectations were actually quite high before I read it. I was expecting great things from this book!

The Girl on the Train centres around a young alcoholic named Rachel. Recently divorced and looking for a new purpose in the world, Rachel catches a train- the same train each day. Over time, she begins to notice the people living in the houses through which the train passes. She looks in on their seemingly perfect lives with envy, wishing her life could be like those she sees from the train. She even beings to feel like she knows the people living in the houses by the train. But then, one day, she sees something shocking. She's a witness for a mere few seconds while the train stops, but that was all it took...
Now everything has changed and Rachel is finally given the chance to become part of their lives, just like she had wanted. They will soon see that she is not just the girl on the train...

This book really surprised me. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as did. It did everything I would expect a book of this nature to do; it was clever and entertaining, the writing was gripping, and the storyline creeped me!

Due to its length, it was quite a quick read and I felt that the writing of the novel really did it justice; it did not drag on and maintained quite a high level of creepiness throughout, which I enjoyed.
I had not read any of Paula Hawkins' other books before The Girl on the Train, so I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of writing style and complexity, but I was pleasantly surprised! The style of writing was intense and really fit with the theme of the story.

I also really liked the characters shown in this novel. They were realistic, which is always good for a book like this. At the same time, they were all slightly creepy and seemed dangerous in their own unique ways, which I enjoyed. I really liked the aspect of Rachel being an alcoholic- this made for a really interesting narrator as you were never really able to trust what she was saying as she didn't trust herself some of the times. I thought that all the other characters were vivid and had a 'more-than-what-they-seem' sense to them. One issue I did have regarding the characters was the fact that I personally didn't feel that they were described enough in a physical sense. Descriptions were there, however, they just weren't there enough for me to feel like I know the characters and know exactly what they look like. This wasn't a huge issue as I still really enjoyed the book, but it just would have been nice to have more descriptions.

The overall storyline of The Girl on the Train was an enjoyable one. It was twisted, it was complicated, and it was dark, which is great for a thriller like this. It did take a little while for the 'main' story to actually kick in; there was a lot of back story and explaining to be done, but once the thriller-ey part of the book began, it was good. There was a stage in this book where I suspected everyone for the crime carried out; I even suspected the victim herself! This is one of the downsides to having so many unreliable characters, all of which may have a reason to commit the crime, whether that's through jealousy, intentional harm, psychopathic nature, or drunkenness. I enjoyed the fact that it was hard to decipher what was really going on and that there was no clear suspect until the resolution of the novel, but at the same time, this was something that annoyed me a bit too, and was probably the reason I didn't award this book the full 5 stars.

When I had reached the end of the book, I wanted it to reach a point where the 'assaulter' was revealed and I would be able to say "Of course! I should have known!"
But it never really did. Obviously the book came to a resolution and all was revealed, but there had been no hints throughout the book that it was that particular character. I would have had exactly the same reaction if another character turned out to be the assaulter in the end. The ending was just a little bit of a flop in the way that the reader could have had suspicions, but I don't think there was enough information on anybody for them to be able to work it out or even guess properly themselves. Some of the motives didn't make sense in my head and I didn't think the reasons were explained as well as they could have been.

And even by the end of the novel, there were aspects that didn't make sense to me. There were parts that seemed completely irrelevant to the story, and others that left me thinking, "Why on earth did that character do that if they were completely innocent all along?"

I suppose that aspect of it made it more realistic and closer to what a real crime would be like, but it just left for a bit of a confusing finish to what would have been a fantastic book. At the end of the day, I did still really enjoy it, but it just wasn't quite as polished as it could have been.

I would recommend The Girl on the Train to fans of Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl and to anyone who is just starting to get into crime thrillers, as it was a great story and I did really enjoy it, but I also feel that if you read a lot of crime thrillers anyway, this wasn't really anything completely new or original, so it may not be enjoyed quite as much.
I would be interested to have a look at some of Paula Hawkins' other books too, to see how they compare to this one.

So, have you read The Girl on the Train? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Thank you for reading and I hope to be back soon with another review!
Until then,

Charlotte xxx

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A Court of Mist and Fury | Book Review

Even though we're not even half-way into the year, I have a very good feeling that A Court of Mist and Fury may well end up being my favourite book of the year...

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
Published: May 2016, by Bloomsbury
Length: 624 pages
Genre: Fantasy, YA

My Rating: 5 STARS!!!

After the stunning events of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the highest rated young-adult fantasy novel of 2015, Feyre, our fearless heroine, is coming to terms with her sudden and unwanted transformation from a young human who just wanted to protect her family, into an immortal Fae. After rescuing Tamlin, her lover and the ruler of the Spring Court, from the rasp of the wicked Fae Queen, Amarantha, Feyre finds herself haunted by the ghosts and memories of the deeds she was forced to carry out in order to save Tamlin’s people.
At the same time, Feyre is also forced to accept the consequences of the deed she made with Rhysand, the feared ruler of the Night Court. But in the midst of everything, war is looming and an evil greater than any wicked queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre holds dear to her. She must learn to confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate…
But what other secrets are being kept from her?

After reading the first book in this series last year, I had been waiting for what seemed to be a massive amount of time for this highly anticipated sequel. But I can assure you that it was definitely worth the wait and lived up to (and even surpassed) every expectation I had held for this book.
There aren’t many books from which I re-emerge completely satisfied with all of the events that occurred in the story, but this book will go down in history as being one of the few that left me feeling ecstatic. 
Words cannot describe how excited I felt before, during, and after reading this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The level of character development within this novel was phenomenal. Nobody could have foresaw the twists and turns each different character took and I found it particularly interesting to finally discover what motives each character had for doing what they did in the previous book.
I absolutely loved how much character development Feyre went through over the course of this novel. She seemed to grow stronger with every page, which was both enjoyable and motivating to read, especially considering how much trauma she was put through and how she previously reacted to this.
I also loved the character development for Tamlin and Rhysand. I can’t truly say I was ever a massive fan of Tamlin in regard to him being a partner for Feyre, which caused me to enjoy A Court of Thorns and Roses slightly less than I would have liked to, however, all was revealed in A Court of Mist and Fury which was why I adored this instalment to the series far more than the last. Moreover, I liked Tamlin more as a character after his true identity is revealed, which also made A Court of Mist and Fury a lot more entertaining.
A great deal of information was revealed about our other main character, Rhysand, allowing the reader to relate more to him and sympathise with his situation more. For these reasons, Rhys slowly became one of my favourite characters in the whole series. 
I also loved revisiting the minor characters from the previous book, like Elain and Nesta and Lucien (am I the only one who absolutely adores Lucien?!) as well as meeting so many new characters with their own interesting back-stories!

If you've read any one of Sarah J. Maas' books, you'll understand just how gripping and exciting her writing is, and there was no exception in this book. I'm constantly amazed at how she manages to go from writing gory battle scenes straight into steamy romantic scenes, and then add in a comedic reunion just to top it off, all the while maintaining her incredibly gripping quality of writing. The way Sarah J. Maas builds worlds and creates characters is just incredible. 

I would easily recommend A Court of Mist and Fury, and its predecessor, A Court of Thorns and Roses, to everyone. While its strong, gory violence, bad language and themes of a sexual nature would not be suitable for younger readers, I would recommend anyone over the age of 15 to pick these books up.
Personally, I wouldn't define this as a Young Adult series, like Throne of Glass, just because of how much 'mature' content is in the series; I think I would view this series in the 'New Adult' genre. 
But apart from that, I think everybody should give these books a go, particularly if you're a fan of fantasy, since A Court of Mist and Fury was absolutely exceptional.

I cannot wait until the finale of this trilogy is released. Sarah has not yet published a series conclusion before, so I'm really excited to see how she'll pull it off. However, if it turns out anything like A Court of Mist and Fury did, we're in for one hell of a book! May 2017 can't come soon enough; I need this book in my hands NOW! Oh, and if it's not too much to ask, I would really, really, really like everybody to come out of this series alive!! Please...?

So, who else is excited for the next instalment to this series? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

That's all for now but I hope to be back very soon!
Until then,

Charlotte xxx

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Hello Everybody...

I just wanted to say a huge sorry for not posting in so long! I've had a rather hectic schedule since I last posted and I just have not been able to find the time to write any reviews, so massive apologies for that.

Thank you to everybody who has stuck around and waited for me, it really means a lot!! I hope to be back and blogging very soon as I have lots of reviews to share with you!

Until then,

Charlotte xxx