Iced (Fever #6, Dani O’Malley #1) by Karen Marie Moning

ImageBook: Iced (Fever #6, Dani O’Malley #1)
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Published: October 30, 2012 by Delacorte Press
Hardcover, 512 pages
Read: November 2012

B.O.S.SF Review: 5 MINDBLOWING stars

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*****
From Goodreads: The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be. Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux. When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

*****
I wish I could give this book 10 stars, because it was my favorite 2012 release!  I read Iced the week that it came out, but I recently listened to the audiobook, and WOW – it took my love of the Mega (and Ryodan) to a new level 🙂  It’s difficult to write a review for a book you love so much, but I’ll give it a shot. 
Dani O’Malley was not my fecking favorite in the Fever series, and I wasn’t excited to have a 14 year old protagonist in books 6-8.  Too many Dudes, fecks, and Megas being thrown around, and I was afraid it wouldn’t have the same sexual tension that the books 1-5 had.  (I should’ve known that if anyone could make it work, KMM could…).  All of my worries were obliterated, and instead Iced exceeded my high expectations that the previous 5 books had set.  KMM is brilliant, and Iced was the perfect first installment in the Dani O’Malley trilogy.  I am in love with every character andevery side plot going on. 
Dani is HILARIOUS –she had me laughing out loud at the situations that she got herself into. 
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The picture that KMM has painted of Dani is so clear in my mind, that when I was reading another book that mentions a whip… I was trying to remember what movie I had seen when a character (that cracks me up) was obsessing over a whip.  It took me a minute to realize that it was Dani!  I honestly thought I’d seen it on the big screen for a moment.  To me, this shows how invested I am with Dani and the whole Fever world that KMM has created for us.  The readers get to find out more about Dani and her childhood.  She used to be caged as a child, which explains why Dani is so adverse to be controlled by anyone.  Dani used to watch old TV shows which is where she learned about love and relationships, since she didn’t have that growing up.  She also has an admirable knowledge of the coolest Batman phrases! (“’Holy strawberries, Batman, we’re in a jam! Or, Holy Kleenex, Batman, it was right under our nose and we blew it!”)  Although she is a spunky 14 year old who wants to watch movies and eat candy bars, she knows that she has a duty to protect the people of Dublin. She’s a scene stealer, but Ryodan and Christian can stand up to it and bring humor, sexiness, and put Dani in her place.
And Ryodan is fantastic as the male lead.  Her interactions with Ryodan start off perfect, and it begins with his first line… “that’s my dick…” I almost choked when from laughing and surprise when I was listening to the audiobook.  I will be completely honest – I love and adore him.  He’s hot, powerful, but he has an obvious soft spot for Dani.  He says he’s been watching her for a long time, and he convinced the rest of the Nine to let her live.  They were intimidated by the fast framing and her supernatural abilities.  Their banter makes me laugh every time, and she is the only one who is allowed to give Ryo crap.  She is the Robin to his Batman.  
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He’s been watching her grow up and sees how strong and capable she is, but sees her vulnerabilities, too.  One of my favorite Ryo lines “You’ll never be just anything. A tsunami can never be ‘just’ a wave.  I like that about you. Waves are banal. Tsunamis reshape the Earth. Under the right circumstances, even entire civilizations.  You’re going to be one hell of a woman one day, Dani.” I have to say, that I love when Ryodan gets mad and overly protective of Dani and his voice is the eerie quiet/calm.   It’s like he’s trying to reign in his temper with her, and I love him for that.  In a Facebook chat with KMM, her parting words were that Ryodan will “eclipse Barrons. Blot him right out of your soul’s sky. That’s the challenge I’ve set for myself as a writer. (God, I hate it when I do this to myself.) It won’t happen in the first book, or the second. But it will happen. And the gauntlet is flung…:)”  PS that makes me so excited!
Although the Dani/Ryodan relationship is my favorite to read and dissect, I also adore Christian/Dani scenes, too.  Christian cracks me up, in a lovable, creepy kind of way.  It was fun to get inside his head to hear the internal struggles of the Highlander he once was and the Unseelie Prince that he is becoming. I’m interested to hear what’s next for him (assuming that Dani can save him from his current situation). 
Lor and Dancer get shout outs for being amazing as well.  I have a perfect picture of Dancer in my mind – the hot nerd that relies on scientific evidence and his brains to get him ahead (he clearly made an impression when he saved Dani’s life when Ryodan and Christian couldn’t). 
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I predict that the dynamic between Dancer and Dani will get more awkward as she grows up and the other suitors become more aggressive.  I love any scenes with The Nine, and Lor is a sarcastic a-hole who seems to have a soft spot forThe Mega.  KMM said to expect more from him in Book 7, so I look forward to that. 
Many people could not past the 14 year old with hot, older Ryo and Christian having feelings for her… and while I get where they’re coming from, I think KMM balanced it as well as she possibly could.  I would think these same people would have problems with Jacob imprinting on a baby in Twilight: Breaking Dawn, but who knows.  (That is much weirder…)
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Karen said in a Facebook Q&A that if she started Dani at 17, she would be beyond some of the first moments of sexual awakening. The Fever series is a paranormal urban fantasy world where Ryo, the rest of the 9, and the fae cannot die, so I can get on board with the eternal men wanting to wait for someone to become legal.  Plus, she’s The Mega, and dude, she’s a living superhero!
So obviously, I am obsessed with the characters… but the plot was the bomb.com, too :).   ANYWAY, Iced gets you right from the start when Ryodan elicits help from Dani to solve what is Icing his club and other parts of Dublin. Through bribery and threats, Dani agrees to work for Ryodan.  Together they investigate what is Icing Dublin.  Even though Dani saves the day, there are some open items left off for Burned, Fever #7.  I can hardly wait until 2014 – I want to hear what the Mega is up to next!  And Jo needs to step aside and stop getting highlights and putting glitter on her chest. And I want to see how Kat and her “soul mate” end up.  Annnnd I’m ready for Mac and Dani to become two peas in the mega-pod again, for Dani to become of age and for her to get it on.  What can I say??   I have a Fever series obsession. I will try to find the transcript from the Faceook chat with KMM.
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Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

 

imageBook: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: December 6, 2011

Hardcover, 528 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: 4.5 stars!

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4.5 stars!!

*****

From Goodreads: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

*****

I had high expectations for Clockwork Prince after reading the favorable reviews on Goodreads, and because I am a big Cassandra Clare fan. While Clockwork Angel had so many parallel characters and plot lines to The Mortal Instruments, Clockwork Prince brought new developments which helped separate the two series. The book flowed well, as I think all of CC’s do, and I enjoyed how the plot progressed throughout the story. We found more clues from the Magister’s past, what Tessa is, and the character developments were engaging. Clockwork Prince gave the readers a chance to become more invested in the characters and the love triangle within the story… and luckily there were some good scenes since there was next to no action! (Not make out action…. fighting action!…. there were some good makeout scenes!) The ending did not include a big fight scene with Mortmain and his army, but I was captivated by how the love story would unfold. The last 10% tore out my heart…. but no spoilers on what transpired.

I’m still liking Tessa as the beautiful, grey eyed, book loving main character. She used her special Changing abilities a few times in CP to gain information on Mortmain, and we found out a few more clues as to what she is (want to know what the deal is with her necklace!). Her internal struggles with finding a place in the world and the men in her life are a just two of the many things that wears on Tessa.

Jem is the best! He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, but I worry about his illness. His illness and impending death gives him insecurities about his shadowhunter abilities and his chance at love. I was glad to see when he and Tessa finally kissed and he confessed his feelings to her. I don’t think that Jem’s character developed too much in CP, other than his feelings for Tessa, but that is OK with me. He’s an open and honest guy, and his struggles with his illness are apparent to everyone.

Will, on the other hand, likes to keep everything bottled up. In my opinion, the developments with Will’s character were some of the best. We find out why Will is the snarky jerk that he is, and the readers get to see the softer side to Will. I do want Will to find love and happiness, too…

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The love triangle is great in The Infernal Devices! With the new character developments with Will… it makes it a bit harder who to root for. I could see Tessa fitting in well with both Jem and Will, and I honestly would feel bad for either of them. (I am still Team Jem!) He is kind and handsome, and even though the nice guy do always seem to finish last (in YA books), I’d love to see CC choose a different path.  And…. I loved their makeout scenes!

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Will’s love for Tessa is also genuine and cute – I loved when he told Tessa why he fell in love with her. I have my predictions… and I think she will end up with Will, but still pulling for Jem!

My two favorite parts of the story came from the side characters. FINALLY Henry and Charlotte made a connection as a married couple. As a reader, I was annoyed with Henry’s aloof attitude towards his wife due to his inventions. When they talked about how they married for love and showed affection for each other, I couldn’t help but smile. My second favorite part had to do with Sophie. She is a loyal and sweet woman, but she is insecure because of her job as a servant and scar on her face. I was glad to see that Gideon Lightwood was a worthy suitor, and I predict that she will convert to being a shadowhunter in the end. I’m rooting for her HEA!

I also thought Jessamine’s twist was a nice change. I think if she would have changed for the better and suddenly wanted to become a badass Shadowhunter, it would have seemed cliche. Her intentions remained constant from start to finish, and I’m glad for that. And lastly, the more Magnus, the better! He isn’t nearly as flashy in TID, but he has some good scenes… and it gives us more insight into his eternal life.

Mortmain was not even in this book, and funny enough, I did not miss him at all! I think this shows that 1) the plot was engaging enough that I hardly noticed and 2) he isn’t a very good villain…. I did like the scenes with Nate (and his wife…) and I thought Benedict Lightwood made a suitable villain in CP.

Loved the book! Can’t wait for Clockwork Princess!

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire

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Book: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)

Author: Jamie McGuire

Published: May 26, 2011

Kindle Edition, 437 pages

B.O.S.SF Review:
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*****
From Goodreads: INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

*****
Hmmm…. well, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read Beautiful Disaster, due to the negative reviews.  I came in with low expectations.  I thought that Travis was going to be physically abusive, and possibly act violent towards Abby, but was not the case!!!  I fell in love with Travis and Abby, and it was a sweet love story.  It had the typical New Adult love story aspects, but it was taken to the extreme.  Abby is a damaged girl who is trying to escape her past, and Travis Maddox is the motorcycle owning, tattooed, womanizing bad boy.  Travis also is damaged which is why their relationship is described as a Beautiful Disaster.  Travis’ violent and possessive behavior rubbed many readers the wrong way.  The violence did get in the way of how much I liked the story at some points.  For example, it bothered me when Abby told Travis to “take care” of a dumb frat guy for joking around with her.  Back to the plot, I did get swept up in the love story between Travis and Abby.  The way that he chased after her, and he wanted to change his life to be with her.  And how she tried to resist his charms, because he reminded her of the messed up life she left behind.  I was excited when they finally hooked up, but that all happened too soon! I knew that something bad had to happen… and the last 45% of the book was frustrating.   The second part was just too dysfunctional… with dealing with Abby’s dad, the breakup, and the fire.  I enjoyed the first half of the book enough to give this book 4 stars. The caveat is that this book is NOT for everyone.  The violence and the arguments will turn lots of people off.
Travis and Abby were the stars of the story!  Of the side characters, I liked America the most.  Parker’s character was OK – he was a little unbelievable, but I guess Travis needed some hot competition.  And I’m glad that the book didn’t have a compelling love triangle.
I’m excited to read Walking Disaster! Travis Maddox is a hot mess, but I can’t wait to see the story retold from his point of view.

Wait for You (Wait for You, #1) by J.Lynn

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Book: Wait For You (Wait For You #1)

Author: J. Lynn (Jennifer Aremenout)

Published: February 26, 2013

eBook, 332 pages

Read March 15, 2013

B.O.S.SF Review: 3.5 stars

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*****
From Goodreads: Some things are worth waiting for…Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.Some things are worth experiencing…Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

 ******
I bought Wait for You the day that it came out and I read Wait for You in two days.  I love Jennifer Armentrout’s Lux series, so I had high hopes for Wait for You!  It was a quick read, and I was easily swept up in this book.  Although it deals with some heavy topics, the love story is sweet, and you are rooting for Avery and Cam from early on.  As soon as Avery literally runs into Cam before Astronomy, I was excited to see their love story unfold.  This to me was a perfect example of the New Adult Genre.  Avery has a past that she’s trying to escape from, and it’s left her damaged.  She doesn’t have any friends and has never had her first kiss.  She is naive, timid, but also a strong personality.  Cam is a handsome, popular guy and he has a lot of friends and girls chasing after him. He thinks Avery is beautiful and different, smart and nice.  He decides to ask her out just to get shot down.  But he doesn’t stop there – he cooks her eggs every Sunday and asks her out every chance he gets.   She finally agrees, and they have a sweet relationship.  Unfortunately, the baggage from her past gets in the way of her letting herself be honest with Cam.  She also has people from her past still trying to get under her skin.  I did enjoy Wait For You!  Although it follows the New Adult novel formula to a T, Avery and Cam’s love story was adorable.  Yes, I do think that there were some parts that were unbelievable (like the super hot, popular guy would be that patient for the new girl when he has hot girls throwing themselves at him??), but I can overlook that.  I think there are better New Adult books out there… (Hopeless and Ten Tiny Breaths, for sure), but it was an enjoyable read 🙂
I could get a good feel for Avery, but I wish that she would have come clean about her past earlier.  Trying to lie about her past only hurt her present relationships.  Cam was a good leading man – hot, patient, loyal, AND a good cook!
I heard that Wait for You #2 is going to be about Cam’s little sister and Jase!  I will absolutely be reading on with the series.

Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

 

imageBook: Hopeless (Hopeless #1)

Author: Colleen Hoover

Published: December 19, 2012

eBook, 327 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: 4,5 stars

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Note: I read this in ONE day!  
*****
From Goodreads: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
*****
I have read several New Adult books lately, and they all have similarities.  There is a main character who is instantly attracted to an unattainable and/or bad boy.  The girl has a damaged past that the boy can help her through….
Hopeless does have a few of these similarities, but the other plot twists and the way that Hopeless is told make this one stand out to me.
First, I’ll discuss the characters… Sky is a good main character.  She’s innocent, strong willed, sheltered, and smart.  Her adopted mother, Karen, doesn’t allow Sky to have a phone, internet, or TV.  She also doesn’t let her go to school, but she somehow convinces Karen to let her attend her senior year of high school.  I did find a few inconsistencies with Karen…. One inconsistency is that Karen is very strict with Sky’s social life, yet Sky’s bedroom window is on the first floor and plenty of high school aged boys go in and out of it.  Another one is that she leaves Sky alone the first weekend of every month while she goes away to work at a flea market (which turns out to be just a few short hours away!).  I think that the Karen/Sky relationship could have been developed a little bit more.  I feel for Sky and her story, and I choked back tears a few times throughout the book.  She has suppressed her past, and her memories come back to her in pieces throughout the story, so we are able to piece together memories of Sky’s past the same time that she is.  Sky met the bad boy in town, Dean Holder (or Holder), at the grocery store, and he seems to be as infatuated with Sky as she is with him.  As much as I liked Sky in Hopeless, I loved Holder!  His character seems to have several personalities, but they all go back to being passionate.  He is thoughtful, funny, hot, and yes, damaged.  His relationship with Sky is my favorite part of the book, and I can hardly wait to read Losing Hope to get his perspective.   The other main characters, Six and ___ are good, too.  Six is her best friend, and we don’t get a great picture of her since she is overseas for most of the book.  I personally like her newest BFF, ___, better.  ___ is a flashy, gay Mormon, and he latches onto Sky because she is as much of an outcast as he is.  He gets to be there for Sky when she goes through her ups and downs of her relationship with Holder.  Without his friendship, she would not have been able to get through the month of September!
I loved the way the story is written!  At least three times, I went back to chapter one and was like huh!?  What happens to come to this??  We find out something that happens between Sky and Holder on October ___ at 7:40PM, and then we are left guessing what happens to lead to this sort of reaction.  In between the story, we also get pieces of Sky when she lived with her father.  It gives us more insight into why Sky is “numb.”  The story has some suspense, romance, humor, and a HEA.  I highly recommend.
PS: My favorite part is when Holder links pinkies with Sky the day after their fight in the cafeteria…. it’s so sweet!

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

 

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Book: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: August 31, 2010

Hardcover, 476 pages

B.O.S.SF Review: 3.5 stars

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*****
From Goodreads: Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

*****
I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare and The Mortal Instruments (books 1-3 in particular), so I had high expectations for The Infernal Devices.  I thought it was fun to take a different look at the Shadowhunter world in 19th Century London, and I think it was a decent first installment in the trilogy.
That being said…. it’s impossible not to compare TMI to TID, and Clockwork Angel can not compete with City of Bones.  Things I did not like:  The characters are interchangeable with TMI… with the Will/Jace character in particular.  I think that the character development isn’t as thorough in TID, because Cassandra Clare assumes that we are already are on board with that formula and her world.  I wish that there could have been some more departures from the storyline.  This also goes along with the bad guys… having someone in the family have a hand in the scheme.
Things I liked: Tessa as the main character.  Her powers are something new and different, and I think that she’ll come into her own as the books go on.  I’m curious as to what she is…  Jem is a good alternative to the Simon character.  In TMI, it was obvious that Clary and Jace were written in the stars, despite the whole sibling mix up, but in TID, I think Jem can stand up to Will in the love triangle.  If anything, I think that that we are given more reasons to care about Jem than Will.  I am curious to see what the Magister and the clockwork army are up to…
I hope that the other characters and subplots come together as the trilogy goes on.

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

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Book: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)

Author: Richelle Mead

Published: June 12, 2012

Hardcover, 418 pages

Read October 2012

B.O.S.SF Review: 4.5 stars

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*****

From Goodreads: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she’s supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she’s been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?
*****
I recently reread The Golden Lily to get ready for the highly anticipated The Indigo Spell.  I enjoyed the Golden Lily much more the second time around.  The story picks up right where Bloodlines left off.
I love Sydney and Adrian… I think I like them more than Rose and Dimitri.  Sydney is hilarious, intelligent, and vulnerable.  The way that she struggles between the way that she was brought up and her new friends (and crush) makes for a good storyline.  Adrian is one of my favorite book characters.  He’s goofy, clever, but much deeper than he leads on.  He cares about his friends more than anything, and he is scared to try to succeed because he thinks he will fail.  The only person that he knows that sees him for who he is, is Sydney… but of course she was raised to believe all vampires are evil creatures.  And there were times I wanted to yell at her!  Tell her to just follow her heart.
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The side characters and subplots are excellent in The Golden Lily as well – the Eddie, Jill, Angeline dynamic is full of laughs and an interesting love triangle.  I’ve been a fan of Eddie since the Vampire Academy series – he takes his job seriously and is an honest and sweet guy.  Angeline’s antics made me laugh.  Adjusting to life outside of the Keepers and to the rigorous academic schedule of the Palm Springs prep school is tough, but it’s fun to see her find her own way.  I would like Jill to come into her character more.  She’s tall, beautiful, and young.  I hope that she is able to contribute more in future books.
All of the great characters could make up a book in itself, but there are a few major underlying plots, all that deal with Sydney having to choose between how she was raised to believe and what she is learning on her own.  One that carried over from Bloodlines is learning more about the Strigoi and why former Strigoi could not be turned back into them.  Each Moroi has a special power, and  a rare power is Spirit.  The Spirit users are working on finding out more about Strigoi…. the bad vampires.  This starts to make Sydney uncomfortable when they ask for her assistance.  Sydney’s slightly looney teacher, Ms. Terwilliger, is “forcing” Sydney to learn magic.  She claims that Sydney has an innate skill and that she has great potential with magic.  Lastly, there are some vampire hunters that are looking for Sonya Karp.
The plot is full of action and twists with humor and a GREAT love story.  It’s one of my favorite series, and I can’t wait to read on 🙂