“New Moon: Twilight #2” Stephenie Meyer

Rated 5 stars ***** EBook. 2006. Little, Brown and Company.

NewMoonIn this second book of the wildly successful “Twilight” series, Bella is heartbroken because Edward broke up with her. He told her he didn’t love her anymore, and felt it would be best if he and his family went away forever so she could move on with her life as if he’d never existed. True to his word, he disappeared – taking her heart and sanity with him.

Without Edward, Bella falls into a deep depression, which goes on for seven months. Her only escape from the unbearably lonely days and nights without Edward is time spent with Jacob Black, a young Native American from the nearby reservation who is an old family friend. As her friendship with Jacob intensifies, she learns of how he and others from his tribe turn into werewolves to protect their land from vampires – their natural enemies. As she continues spending time with him, she wonders if he can be enough to help her forget Edward. Could the love of a younger, but handsome and strong teen werewolf, help her forget the unforgettable and breathtakingly handsome vampire who broke her heart?

Bella is at her worst in “New Moon,” as she goes on and on about the hole in her body Edward left when he disappeared. She refuses to try to heal herself, and wallows constantly in self-pity. Readers will quickly get annoyed with her. The very bright spot in the book is the character of Jacob Black who, though briefly mentioned in “Twilight,” gets full billing in “New Moon.” Again make sure to read the book before you see the movie, as Taylor Lautner’s handsome face will forever be associated with Jacob.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“Life and death: Twilight reimagined” Stephenie Meyer

Rated 5 stars ***** 2016. Little, Brown and Company. 387 p.

LifeAndDeath“Twilight”, the beloved story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2015. In this version, Meyer worked a little creativity into the original story by casting a female vampire, Edyth Cullen, into Edward’s role, while handsome Beau Swan replaces Bella as her irresistible human love interest.

Most of the original adventures of these love struck lovers in the little town of Forks unfolds before readers as we see Edyth through the eyes of Beau, who is struck dumb by Edyth’s beauty. Readers have the chance to see their love story live again through Beau’s eyes as she sweeps him into the heights of ecstasy as only an enticing vampire can do.

I will admit that readers should expect a few surprises in this version, but I won’t give them away. You’ll have to read to the very last exciting page to find out to what I refer. Like me, you might get inspired to read the series all over again.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

“City of Heavenly Fire” Cassandra Clare

Rated 2 stars ** ebook. 2014. The Mortal Instruments #6. Simon & Schuster. (Margaret K. McElderry Books.)

CityofHeavenlyFireSebastian has reappeared, stronger and meaner than ever. With the help of his army of Endarkened, former Shadowhunters who had been turned through drinking from the Infernal Cup, he is determined to destroy the world and rule as its leader.

Jace is having difficulty learning to control the heavenly fire that burns within him, Alex and Magnus have broken up, leaving both miserable; Isabelle and Simon are madly in love with each other but neither will admit it, and Clary is desperate to get close to Jace without the heavenly fire being a barrier between them.

While each of our heroes struggle with issues, Sebastian’s powerful ally in Alicante is secretly planning a move that will turn Idris upside down and put every Shadowhunter in danger of becoming either extinct or Endarkened. When Magnus, Luke and other Downworlder leaders are captured, Jace, Clary, Alex, Simon and Isabelle will have to leave behind everything they hold dear and descend into the pits of hell to try and stop Sebastian forever.

I found “City of Heavenly Fire” to be a big disappointment. From the moment I read of Clary and Jace having trouble kissing because the heavenly fire kept electrocuting her with sparks, I was reminded of a similar problem between characters in the “Beautiful Creatures” series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. This really turned me off, as I didn’t think Clare was very original with this part of her storyline. In my mind’s eye I kept seeing Lena and Ethan in Gatlin trying to get hot and heavy instead of Clary and Jace in Alicante.

In addition, I kept finding self-promotion with references to her book “The Shadowhunters Codex.” When it was given to Clary as a gift I figured this was done to drive up sales from readers, which was also a no-no for me.

Lastly, the biggest turnoff, was a disjointed feeling to the storyline because Clare kept leaving the action to return to a secondary character that kept having issues. When these weren’t rectified by the end of the book it became clear that Clare planned to introduce ANOTHER new series called “The Dark Artifices,” to be released in 2015 with this secondary character. To this I say “Enough with the series books already!”

Thus, after finding this last book in the “Mortal Instrument” series to be a huge disappointment I will have to leave it up to you to Decide if You Want to Read it or Not.

“City of Lost Souls” Cassandra Clare

Rated 3 stars *** ebook. 2012. The Mortal Instruments #5. Simon & Schuster. (Margaret K. McElderry Books.)

I read and reviewed this book in 2012 and, after reading that review I can see I’ve gotten a bit jaded with this second reading. It was a decent read, but I can’t wait to finally finish the series with book #6. Below is my 2014 opinion.

CityOfLostSoulsAt the end of “City of Fallen Angels,” Sebastian compelled Jace to mix their blood by using the ancient twinning rune created by his demonic mother. With Jace completely under his power Sebastian rose from the dead, took Jace, and vanished.

Since Jace and Sebastian are now inextricably linked, neither can be hurt without feeling each other’s pain. Knowing the Clave will kill Jace to get to Sebastian, Clary frantically tries to locate him. No one can find them, but Clary is desperate. Despite being possessed and a robot to Sebastian’s wishes, Jace’s feelings for Clary remain. He returns for her, and Clary goes with him. As usual, she is spontaneous and enveloped in an all-consuming love for Jace. She is sure she can convince him to turn back into the boy she loves, and will stop at nothing to do so. However she has no idea that the evil plans Sebastian has for the world are now part of Jace’s soul, and will soon find out what it means to love someone who is tied to evil leaving the three of them tangled in a triangle of lust, love and power.

Meanwhile Simon, Maia, Jordan, Isabelle, Alec and Magnus are trying to come to terms with each other. Jealousy, anger, love, fear and regret are all on display, as each battle with their feelings for the one they love and are trying to ignore. Sebastian’s plan to destroy the world, and Clary’s disappearance, draw them together to try and come up with a plan to save Clary and Jace. Little do they know that the best laid plans always carry a price.

This latest installment of The Mortal Instruments series is another open ended read, but the end is near as book #6 was just released in May. With this final book of the series, readers will finally get all their questions answered and good will win over evil. We hope.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

 

“City of Fallen Angels” Cassandra Clare

Rated 3 stars *** ebook. 2011. The Mortal Instruments #4. Simon & Schuster. (Margaret K. McElderry Books.)

CityOfFallenAngelsJace was raised from the dead by the Angel Raziel, Valentine and his army have been defeated, Luke and Jocelyn are finally getting married, so all should be right in the Shadowhunter world. Unfortunately trouble seems to follow Clary and Jace around like lint on a blanket.

Clary was sure she and Jace would be a loving couple once they found out he was not her brother. Instead of love, a distance begins to open between them as Jace draws away from her. He is distant and aloof, leaving Clary in agony wondering what her life will be like without him if he leaves her.

Meanwhile Simon is in his own kind of agony. His mother found out he is a vampire and he has nowhere to live. He has drawn the interest of Camille leader of the Manhattan vampires, while someone else is trying to kill him. So far, the Mark of Cain has protected him but Simon is not happy with what’s been happening because of it.

Sinister, dark forces are at work in the world of the Nephilim and Downworlders. It is only a matter of time before, once more, good and evil battle for control.

Clary’s insecurities, especially around Jace, along with constantly acting before she thinks are becoming tiresome. I think the series could have comfortably ended with book #3 “City of Glass,” because now it seems like Clare is milking each character to get more out of them than we readers need to see. Still, fans of Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec and Magnus will be happy to know the series will continue with book #5 “City of Lost Souls.”

Recommended for readers aged 14 and older who don’t mind teenage angst.

“City of Glass” Cassandra Clare

Rated 4 stars **** ebook. 2009. The Mortal Instruments #3. Margaret K. McElderry Books.

CityofGlassValentine is obsessed with ridding the world of Downworlders. With both the Mortal Cup and Sword in his possession, he only needs to find the Mirror to have everything in place for his evil plans. Knowing the Clave will want to exploit Clary’s new power, and that Valentine is aware of it too, Jace tries to keep her from coming to Idris with his family for Clave meetings. However, Clary wants to find the antidote that will revive her mom. Despite knowing that Jace is capable of doing so himself, she deliberately launches herself into Idris through a portal of her own making – not realizing that to do so is to break the Law since she doesn’t have permission to be in the country.

Meanwhile, Simon has his own problems. As a vampire who can walk in the sunlight without fear of death, he is an object of scrutiny for the Clave. It doesn’t take long for him to become their prisoner, unbeknownst to any of the Lightwoods or Clary.

Angry that Jace doesn’t want her in Idris Clary joins forces with Sebastian, who volunteers to help her find the warlock who can break her mother’s spell. Sebastian is living with the Lightwoods but, while handsome and mysterious, has a strange anger that keeps him apart from others.

With Valentine setting a deadline for the ultimate Shadowhunter battle, Simon in prison, Jace avoiding her, and Sebastian vying for her attention Clary doesn’t know where to turn. The clock is ticking towards an ultimate showdown of the Shadowhunter variety, with surprises and revealed secrets that will keep readers on the edges of their seats.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.

 

 

 

“City of Ashes” Cassandra Clare

Rated 4 stars **** ebook. 2008. The Mortal Instruments #2. Margaret K. McElderry Books.

CityOfAshesWhen last we saw Valentine, he had disappeared with the Mortal Cup leaving behind a changed world for Clary and her friends. Her mother is still in a coma, her best friend Simon has become a vampire, while her feelings for her brother Jace have become more and more complicated.

With the Clave in an uproar Downworlders start turning up dead, which intensifies the suspicion and hatred between them and Shadowhunters.  The head judge for the Clave, the Inquisitor, is sure Jace has been cooperating with his father to plot their demise and arranges for him to stand trial. When the sword of Raziel the Angel is stolen blame shifts to Jace, and the full wrath of the Inquisitor falls upon him.

The only way to prove his innocence is to find Valentine and recover the Mortal Instruments. However, Valentine has gained immense power through possession of these Instruments and seems to be unstoppable. Alec, Jace, Isabelle, Simon and Clary soon find themselves tangled in a web of deceit that will threaten to swallow them whole.

Once again, Clare has woven a tale of action, adventure and romance, which will keep her readers mesmerized.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.