City of Heavenly Fire

If you’ve come here looking for spoilers, you have definitely come to the wrong place. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to tell you much of anything about City of Heavenly Fire, the long-awaited conclusion to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. Do yourself a favor and read it. And the rest of the series. And the prequel trilogy. And anything else that Cassie Clare writes. Even if it’s her grocery list. I’m pretty sure even that would be epic.

For those not caught up with all things Shadowhunter, you absolutely MUST read the first five books of the Mortal Instruments saga before picking up City of Heavenly Fire. Those books are City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and City of Lost Souls. (And no, seeing the movie adaptation of City of Bones is not a substitute for reading the book. In my opinion, the movie was absolute crap and didn’t begin to do the book justice.) I’d also highly recommend reading the prequel series, The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess). There’s a fair amount of crossover, and you may not get the importance of certain things if you don’t have the background provided in the prequels. (Hint: Brother Zachariah for the win!)

I honestly don’t know what I can say about City of Heavenly Fire without giving too much away. From the very first page, I was enthralled, and I’m still processing a lot of what happened. Throughout this 725-page tome, I laughed, I cried, and I got angry. It was an emotional journey, and one that I won’t soon forget…especially since I was extremely worried about my favorite character for much of the latter part of the book. (If you’ve read my other posts on these books, you likely know who I’m talking about.)

Those of you who’ve read the series thus far will get everything you’ve come to expect in a Mortal Instruments book. Snarkiness, sadness, redemption, action, emotional upheaval, intense battles, loss, fear, laughter, and love overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. The characters we met in the first book–Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus–have grown so much, endured so much, to get where they are, and this final war with Sebastian, Clary’s own brother, is their greatest battle yet. They are being tempered in a great fire, and, if they emerge, they will be stronger than ever.

I will say that the ending, while heart-breaking at times, was rather satisfying, and didn’t leave me with–you know–the urge to throw the book across the room or egg the author’s house. (I cannot say the same for my feelings when I finished reading Allegiant.) I felt it was a very fitting end to a beloved series, and it served well as a new beginning for many of the characters who’ve come to mean so much to me.

The official City of Heavenly Fire book trailer was released a few weeks before the book, and it captures the basic mood of the book. (I will admit I’m not crazy about the trailer. Something about it felt a bit off. The same is definitely NOT true of the book!) Check it about below, compare it to the book, and judge for yourself.

I first met these characters six years ago, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the time we’ve spent together. Luckily, I don’t really have to say goodbye. I’m fairly certain I’ll see them again in Cassie Clare’s next Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices. We definitely get glimpses of what we’ll encounter in the new series, starting with Lady Midnight in 2015. Our newest adventure will center around Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs in the Los Angeles Institute, and, if what I saw in City of Heavenly Fire is accurate, we can expect another thrill ride from these young Shadowhunters!


I know this post didn’t give you a ton of information about City of Heavenly Fire, and I do apologize for that. It’s just that this series means a great deal to me, and I find it rather difficult to put my thoughts on it into words. Those I’ve used here don’t feel adequate in any way. If you take anything away from this, though, I hope it’s this: Read anything you can find by Cassandra Clare. She will wrap you up in an intense story, give you characters you grow to love, and teach you a little something about caring for your fellow man (or vampire, werewolf, warlock, whatever) along the way. Her books–this one and any others–are not to be missed.

The series is complete...for now.

The series is complete…for now.

City of Lost Souls

Warning!  There may be City of Lost Souls spoilers ahead!

After work on Tuesday, I rushed to the closest Barnes & Noble to pick up a book I waited on for far too long—City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.  I started reading it as soon as I got home, but, sadly, I wasn’t able to finish it until yesterday.  (Lots of things kept getting in the way—work, my regular TV schedule, meetings, and my need for naps.)  But finish it I did, and I was absolutely blown away.

Like the other books in Clare’s Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and City of Fallen Angels) and her Infernal Devices series (Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince), City of Lost Souls had me hooked before I even opened the book.  And I think a part of me was reluctant to finish the book, partly because I wanted to prolong the time I spent with my favorite characters, and partly because I knew this book would end on a cliffhanger, and I’d have a long time to worry about how things would be resolved.  How right I was.

I’m not going to tell you much about what happens in City of Lost Souls because I don’t want to spoil things for you.  This series means too much to me to ruin it for other fans.  I will say, however, that I am an emotional wreck after reading this book.  Sacrifices and deals are made—or at least considered—that change the entire fabric of this world.  The relationships between the characters have me tied up in knots, and I’m hoping against hope that things get better for everyone in the next book, City of Heavenly Fire.  I even found myself hoping that there was some way to “fix” Sebastian.  When you read this book, you’ll see why that hope was rather short-lived. 

While reading City of Lost Souls, I was always for clues about what might happen in Clockwork Princess.  (For those that don’t know, Clockwork Princess is the third book in the Infernal Devices, the prequel trilogy to Mortal Instruments.)  I think I may have found at least one clue, but it’s so out there that I don’t want to say anything in case I’m wrong (but I don’t think I am).  I also looked for things we might see in the next Shadowhunter series, Dark Artifices, which will take place a few years in the future at the Los Angeles Institute.  Based on things I’ve heard from Cassie Clare and the YA blogging community, I encountered a few characters that I know I’ll see again.

In short, I LOVED this book just as much as everything else Cassandra Clare has written.  I am totally invested in what happens to these characters that I’ve come to love and think of as my friends.  (Most of my best friends are fictional characters.)  I am eagerly anticipating the final book in the Mortal Instruments saga, City of Heavenly Fire, which won’t be released until March of 2014.  (Yep.  You read that right.  Nearly two years away.  Let the temper tantrum begin.)  Clockwork Princess will tide me over for a bit, but it won’t be out until March 19th of next year, so I’ve still got about ten months to stew.  Curses!

There is, however, something I’m looking forward to that will ease the pain of waiting.  Cassie Clare is coming to South Carolinain November!!!!  I got to meet her late last year during her Clockwork Prince tour (and she’s as awesome as you’d think she would be), and I was thrilled this week when I heard she’d be coming back to my fair state.  She, along with dozens of other bestselling authors—including Holly Black, Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman,  Margaret Stohl, Andrea Cremer, Kim Derting, and too many others to name—will be coming to Charleston for YALLFest (, the Charleston Young Adult Book Festival.  The event will be November 9-10, and I am so there!  I’m so excited about this that I can barely contain my joy!

So, while the wait to find out what happens to Jace, Clary, Simon, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, and even Sebastian, is way too long for me, there’s plenty going on that will tide me over (including hearing more about the middle-grade series by Cassie Clare and Holly Black that’s currently in the works). 

If you’d like more information about all of Cassandra Clare’s amazing books, check out her website (, her tumblr site (, Twitter (!/cassieclare), and Facebook (  You may also want to check out my favorite fansite, Mundie Moms (  Also, if you haven’t seen it already (I’ve watched it about five thousand times), here’s the official City of Lost Souls book trailer.  If this video doesn’t make you want to read this outstanding book, nothing will.  Enjoy!

City of Fallen Angels

SPOILER ALERT!!!  Read no further if you have not read Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass)!  You may also want to read the first book in the prequel trilogy, Clockwork Angel, for good measure.  If you have read these wonderfully awesome books, you may proceed.  If not, well, what are you waiting for?  These books are WAY too good to pass up.  Get moving!

I don’t even know where to begin.  If you follow this blog at all, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Cassandra Clare.  So, when her latest book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Fallen Angels, was released on Tuesday, I rushed to the closest bookstore as soon as I got off work.  (I’ve been waiting on this book for over a year, so I seriously contemplated taking the entire day off to read, but circumstances beyond my control prevented that.  Maybe next time.)  I began reading as soon as I got home, and only my need for sleep forced me to put the book down.

Yesterday, I did much the same thing.  I got home and started reading.  I could have finished the book last night, but something stopped me…and it wasn’t the need for sleep.  I have grown so attached to these characters that when I sense that bad things are about to happen to them (and I’m talking seriously, enormously, mind-numbingly bad), I don’t want to face it.  So I put it off.  I almost wish I hadn’t because I thought about what might be coming all day at work.  Again today, I began reading as soon as I got home, and things were worse than I could have possibly imagined.  When I finished City of Fallen Angels a little while ago, I just sat and stared into space because I honestly couldn’t wrap my mind around what had just happened to Jace, Clary, Simon, and the other characters I’ve grown to love.  I still can’t, so this will not be a typical post for me.  I’m not going to tell you much of anything about the book, but I will tell you that the wait for the next installment, City of Lost Souls, will be absolutely horrible.  (In case you’re wondering, City of Lost Souls won’t be released until May of 2012.  That’s right…another year of torture.)

Even though I am filled with anxiety about what happened in City of Fallen Angels and where it will lead in future books, I must say that I feel the same way about this book as I do City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and Clockwork Angel.  In short, I loved it.  Cassandra Clare has a way of pulling readers into her stories and making them not only care about what’s going on but also feel the emotions of the characters she’s writing about.  I have adored her writing since the first page of City of Bones, and I don’t see that feeling abating any time soon.

As you read about Simon’s struggle with being the only one of his kind, Jace and Clary’s intense and tumultuous relationship, and a sinister evil infiltrating their very souls, you will be pulled into the fantasy that is City of Fallen Angels.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For more information on Cassandra Clare and her awesome books, visit

Darkness Becomes Her

I honestly don’t know where to start when it comes to the book that I just finished.  It was awesome, creepy, anxiety-inducing, sad, and moving.  It contained paranormal creatures, a touch of romance, and a dash of Greek mythology.  In short, it was all I want in a book.  This book is Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton, and it takes place in a post-apocalyptic New Orleans, or New 2, as it is now known.  New 2 is a haven for all kinds of creatures who don’t want to be found, and our main character, Ari, must travel to this dangerous city to find the truth about her past and how it may impact her future.

Ari has always been an outsider.  She grew up in foster care, but that’s just part of why she’s a loner.  She has indestructible silvery white hair and mysterious teal eyes.  She stands out when all she’s every really wanted is to fit somewhere.  Ari doesn’t really know why she’s so different, but she’s on a quest to get some answers.  Her journey begins at her mother’s last known residence, an asylum.  Unexpectedly, Ari’s mother has left her a message:  Run.  Ari doesn’t know what she’s running from or to, but she has a feeling the answers she seeks will be found in New 2, a place where she’s always been warned not to go.

As soon as Ari makes the decision to go to New 2, danger begins to follow her.  It is clear that someone is trying to kill her, but she doesn’t know why.  Ari seeks refuge with a band of misfits with secrets of their own, and these new friends may just be the key to Ari finding out who she really is and why she’s so important.

As Ari searches for answers, she encounters some things she never expected: voodoo, vampires, harpies, shapeshifters, monster hunters, a pet alligator, an angry goddess, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging she’s never felt before in her life.  Can she hold on to her newfound home and friends?  Or will the past that’s haunting her take everything away?  Explore New 2 and discover Ari’s family secrets when you read Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton.

I am so excited that this is just the first book in this new series.  It ended on quite the cliffhanger, and I’m anxious to see where the story goes from here.  I can’t wait to see how Ari’s “abilities” manifest themselves and what impact that will have on those around her.  This should be an interesting ride.  The sequel is set to be released in February of 2012, and the title has not been released yet.  I will do my best to update you when I find out about the title and cover.  For now, you can find more information on Darkness Becomes Her and author Kelly Keaton at

Once a Witch

I picked up my latest read, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, primarily because it is a 2011-12 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee.  I served on the Young Adult Book Award committee for three years, and, even though I work with much smaller mammals now, I still like to keep up with what teens in my state are reading, and I think they will really enjoy Once a Witch (especially girls who are fans of the Twilight saga and similar books).  Once a Witch is the first book in a tantalizing new series, and I think it takes readers to places that they never expected to go…

Tamsin Greene is an oddball in her family, and that is definitely saying something.  You see, Tamsin comes from a family of witches, all of whom have special Talents…except Tamsin.  She’s ordinary.  No Talent, no special powers, no hint of anything magical about her.  So, when a mysterious man comes into her family’s bookshop and mistakes Tamsin for her older, extremely gifted sister Rowena, Tamsin plays along and agrees to help him find a lost family heirloom.  If she can find what this man is searching for, maybe she won’t feel so much like an outsider in her own family.

What Tamsin didn’t count on, however, were the strange man’s intentions when he asked her to look for his lost heirloom.  It seems both he and the object of his desire are far more dangerous than Tamsin could have possibly known, and the search for the heirloom will take Tamsin and everyone close to her down a path fraught with peril at every turn.

What will happen when Tamsin locates this mysterious object?  What is the strange man really after?  Can Tamsin stop the storm that is brewing before it is too late?  And, most importantly, is she really as Talentless as everyone has always led her to believe?  Join Tamsin on her quest for answers when you read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

I, for one, really related to the character of Tamsin.  No, I don’t come from a family of witches (that I know of), but I have felt like an outsider in my own family.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, try to chill.  You know exactly what I mean.)  I’m not loud, I don’t really like to talk all that much (and trust me when I say that is odd in my family), and I’d rather escape into the pages of a book than deal with people.  I’m just not like most of the other people in my family, so I found it very easy to sympathize with Tamsin, and I think many teen readers will as well.

I highly recommend this book to young adult readers.  (It may be a little much for the middle grades, though.)  Once a Witch is a wonderful first book in what promises to be a captivating series.  The sequel, Always a Witch, will be out on August 1, 2011.  I look forward to seeing what trouble Tamsin will get into this time.  For more information on this series, author Carolyn MacCullough, quizzes, and facts about witches, visit

City of Glass

What can I say about City of Glass, the third and final(?) installment in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy other than IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!  I’m ready to start reading it again right now.

I don’t want to give too much away because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone wanting to read it (and trust me, you really should read this book).  Let me just say that most of my predictions came true, I cried a little, I was horrified a lot, and, in the end, I was satisfied with the outcome.

If you haven’t read City of Bones or City of Ashes, read those two books before you read City of Glass or nothing will make sense.  If you like the Twilight saga or Holly Black’s novels, I think this series is definitely worth reading.  I, personally, like the Mortal Instruments trilogy better than the Twilight series, and those of you who know me realize that is saying something.  The characters are rich and vivid, the action grips you from the very beginning, and there is never a dull moment.

City of Glass and its preceding books are perfect for those who like fantasy, especially fantasy involving vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, fairies, and all sorts of other things.  I LOVE THESE BOOKS and cannot wait for Cassandra Clare’s next work, the Infernal Devices trilogy.  Yay!

For more information on these books, go to

City of Bones

I’ve read Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones twice now, and I swear it’s just gotten better.  The following is a booktalk I just wrote to promote this book:

“‘I was proud of my work on you,’ he said slowly, looking at Clary. ‘So clean.  So perfect.  What you saw you would forget, even as you saw it.  No image of pixie or goblin or long-legged beastie would remain to trouble your blameless mortal sleep.  It was the way she wanted it.’

Clary’s voice was thin with tension.  ‘The way who wanted it?’

Magnus sighed, and at the touch of his breath, the fire-letters sifted away to glowing ash.  Finally he spoke—and though she was not surprised, though she had known exactly what he was going to say, still she felt the words like a blow against her heart.

‘Your mother,’ he said.”


            Clary Fray has always felt that something is missing in her life.  Maybe it has something to do with her father dying before she was born.  Then again…maybe not.

            After witnessing a murder at the Pandemonium Club, Clary is introduced to a world she never knew existed.  The murderers reveal themselves to be Shadowhunters, or demon killers.  Clary is disbelieving at first, but when her mother goes missing and she’s nearly killed by a demon, she quickly becomes a believer.

            Clary soon realizes that her mother is a former Shadowhunter and has been magically shielding her from this world her entire life.  Clary can now see vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons, and many other creatures.  She can see through glamours that hide true appearances.  She even discovers that she possesses some unique gifts herself.

            The Shadow World, of which Clary is now a part, is on the verge of war.  Valentine, a Shadowhunter gone bad who was believed to be dead, is back and wreaking havoc in his quest for the Mortal Cup, the vessel by which new Shadowhunters are made.  He must be stopped, and a motley group of teenagers figure they’re the ones to do it.  There’s Clary, who has just found out about her Shadowhunter heritage; Jace, the enigmatic Shadowhunter to whom Clary is mysteriously drawn; Isabella, a beautiful girl with a wicked whip; Alec, who harbors an intense dislike of Clary; and Simon, Clary’s normal friend, who has a not-so-secret crush on her.

            How can a group of teenagers stop the bad guy to end all bad guys?  And how can Clary learn to fight in a world she never knew existed?  Enter the Shadow World to unravel the mysteries in City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

I hope you enjoy this booktalk.  It does not even begin to hint at how wonderful this book is.