Monday, 26 January 2015

Book review 6: City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

Things to know:

  • I read the original English version
  • It was published May 2012
  • It has 535 pages
  • It is set in New York 2007 (directly after book 4)
  • I started: 8th January 2015 and ended it: 26th Jan

So, first of all, some of you might have noticed how long it took me to read this. For me in 95% of the time you can see how much I like a book on how quickly I get through it... Guess how catching this one was?

Okay, but some contents first. After Jace disappeared with Sebastian, the Clave
prioritize to find Sebastian. Clary and the others found out though, that there is a very strong bond between the two boys, which causes them to feel each others pain meaning; kill one, the other dies too. The Clave would kill either of them just to get rid of Sebastian, after all Jace is only a common Shadowhunter to them.
Then one night Jace and Sebastian turn up in Clary's room and ask her to come with them. Luke gets badly hurt trying to protect Clary and Jocelyn, while Jace and Simon disappear again. At the same time Alec, Magnus, Izabelle, Simon, Maia and Jordan are also trying to find Jace before the Clave does, bending some laws doing so...
After Clary gets a hold on special Fairy rings with which the people wearing them can communicate with each other mentally. She gives one to Simon and then she goes off, and hopes Jace will take her with him, which he does...

Back to my opinion; After I finished book 4, I really didn't want to read the next one, but I gave it a chance reading the first few chapters... At some point I started re-reading some books I loved and read ages ago and only read CoLS on my 10min train ride to uni... And I never really got into the book, it had some interesting moments, but nothing really catchy. I only finished this so "quickly" because I had night-shifts this weekend, and after I finished all my shift tasks I would always read until the next costumer came. And then, finally, the last 3 or 4 chapters were a great read, especially the epilogue was awesome. A lot of things happened, things that actually are interesting to me.
The problem with this series is, that somehow the story turns its self in circles. Clary and Jace are in love, but can't be together, it's boring! Yes, I will read the last book, to finish the story, but I'll take a short break and read the "Bane Chronicles" first, as for now it seems to be more fun :)

Okay, I know, this time I was very negative, but that's just how I read this... I hope this wasn't too bad for you to read.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Mail Week: 4

So, another mail week is over, this time I received 2 letters and 4 postcards :)

Sarah, USA

Karen, USA
Anne, Finland

Lily, Thailand <3

Postcrossing, Belarus

Janina, Germany (though I gave her the card to sent it to me ages ago xD)
This is all for this week, I hope I'll be able to add a new book review soon, but "City of Lost Souls" really takes me a long time to read...


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Kawaii shopping :3

So, I went looking for Japanese magazines in German online shops, my favourite being, (they do worldwide shipping and their page is in German/English/Japanese) and they had a sale of Lolita accessory books.
Here is what I just HAD to buy:
 Angelic Pretty Agenda, + free postcards from Kamijo and Scandal

 This is the Agenda from inside, though every month looks different :3

 Liz Lisa Stationary Set

 Inside: Liz Lisa Magazine, pen, stickers, mini notebook, pen case and deco tape.
 Baby The Stars Shine Bright Fleece blanket book

 Inside: booklet

 Inside: fleece blanket, can be worn as poncho-like-thing though, with cute hood >.<
 mezzo piano backpack book

 Inside: booklet

Inside: backpack (big enough to fit school-stuff in, including A-4 sized books)
it has cute ears :3
 Innocent World Kasa (Umbrella) book

 inside: booklet

 inside: umbrella

umbrella opened <3

The backpack "book" was most expensive, the rest was between 10€ and 13€. I am really happy :D


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Mail Week: 3 (+qensio info)Yuk

This week was a better mail week :)
3 letters, 2 postcards and one small parcel!
Jennifer, USA

Keiko, Japan

Vicky, Germany
Czech Republic, Postcrossing

Taiwan, Postcrossing
Yuki, Japan

Lucky me :3


Also since a few months I am a member of qensio, a company checking how long mail takes to be delivered. People from large cities can register there and decide which kind of mail they want to receive (eg. I unchecked the box for insured mail. I don't want to pickup/ sign to receive mail every other day).  For me it went like this: First I received mail from Germany (about 10 letters or so) which I registered (similar to postcrossing) on the page. But everything is explained in the letters you received. Since end of November I also receive international mail, and some of the stamps they use are AWESOME. 

From Middle Earth xD
But the stamps you receive aren't even the best part. For each mail you register you get a certain amount of points (for normal letters it's 9 points) and you can  swap them for items in their shop or for vouchers, 200 points are a 10€ voucher for Amazon. I already got one and it really works!
For registration you receive 100 points.

Sooo.... if you live in a big city and want to receive some more great stamps or just some Amazon vouchers, this might be an idea for you ;)


Monday, 12 January 2015

Book review 5: The Shadowhunters' Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis

 The Shadowunters' Codex (The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis

English Version

German Version

Things to know:

  • I read the (translated) German Version
  • It was published February 2014
  • It has 320 pages
  • I read this on 9th January 2015

You can read this book with no fear of spoilers after you read book 4 of "The Mortal Instruments".

This book is a Guide to the Shadowhunter world. It is supposed to explain the way of a Shadowhunter to a person who is in training to become one. It gives you information about weapons, martial arts, demons, downworlders, angels, geography, etc. At the same time Clary, Simon and Jace put some notes into it to actualise it, Clary asked Luke for help on some info about Werewolf and even Magnus Bane added 2 really sarcastic pages to this Codex.

When I read about this book, I was hoping for something different then I actually got. Yes, I was hoping for a Codex written for Shadowhunters, but I thought that Clary and the others would write more into it. There are pages without any notes from one of them or others with just some sarcastic notes next to it. The improved comments of Clary and co were there, but I wished there would have been more input.
Also this seems to address a child. Yes, the series is supposed to be for (young) teenagers, but honestly, the Codex is supposed to be for Shadowhunters, people who train to kill - mostly demons. I don't think it's really realistic to make it sound as if the readers are children if they are training to be soldiers...

The sketches inside are awesome, many different artists worked on this. Some of the discussions Clary, Jace and Simon have in this book are just absolutely funny. I had moments were I couldn't stop laughing. 
But the information of the Codex itself was very dry, and I have to admit, I skipped some bits of it...
Some more sketches for the demons and angels would have been great. Or maybe Luke, Magnus, Alec and Izzy actually writing into it as well would have been fun too

Is this a must to read?
Definitely not!
But if you are a fan and want to get some extra info, go on and read it :)
Though, most information shouldn't be new to the reader as long as the actual series carefully.

On goodreads, I only gave 2 out of 5 stars, because of the reasons named above. If not for the awesome artworks, I would probably only have given it one.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mail Week: 2 + short travel notice :)

This wasn't a good mail week for me... only 3 (belated) Christmas cards... and that's it!

Astrid, Germany

Lily, Thailand
 Thank you for all those awesome stamps Lily <3

Manon, Belgium

Now to my travel notice:

On 5th March I'll fly to Thailand to visit Lily again.
I bought the flights on Christmas via Lufthansa for ~750€ which is, at least from Lufthansa, the cheapest I found around that time.
On the way there I'll have a stop in Bangkok, on the way back in Singapore.
I'll be back home on 20th March, meaning, I'll be actually annoying Lily from 6th to 19th... let's see if we'll hate each other after living together for about 2 weeks xD

I will upload loads of photos from Phuket!!


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Book review 4: City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

Things to know:

  • I read the original English version
  • It was published April 2011
  • It has 424 pages
  • It is set in New York 2007 (6 weeks after book 3)
  • I started: 7th January 2015 and ended it: 8th Jan

I would really advice you to read the Infernal Devices series before you read the book. It is not absolutely needed, but it will make it a better read for you and answers questions like:
Why does Brother Zachariah look different than the other brothers?

Who is Will?

After the Mortal War was won thanks to Clary, she came back to New York. Finally she can be together with Jace, which both are enjoying a lot! At the same time her mother and Luke are planning their wedding, Alec and Magnus are travelling together (sending funny photos to Jace) and Simon is dating... both Maia and Isabelle. Everything should be fine, but Jace is having strange dreams which make him distance himself from Clary, Simon has to leave his home, because his mother thinks he is a monster, Jocelyn finds out about a woman who left her child alone in a side street and Alec learns about parts of Magnus's past.

As you might have noticed, there is a lot of messy things going on and nobody is really happy. I was hoping that after book three at least Clary and Jace would have a somewhat stable relationship. But no, they don't. I've read (urban)fantasy novels in which a couple gets together, and then for the following books, is happily together (with normal relationship problems) and these books are still great. There don't always have to be on-off relationships to make a story interesting. Of course, this is my opinion, and I bet there are people around who like these kind of relationship, but making this last over a series as long as this one is making me not want to carry on reading it.

As I know how book 4 ends, I also know that in book 5 Clary and Jace will still not be happily together, and I really don't want to pick up the book... I have moments like these sometimes, when I think the series or book isn't promising anymore, but it usually doesn't happen in between books.
Spoiler Ends

Excepts for this, it took me a while to get into the book (again), but I mentioned this problem in this series before... 

I don't want to write more at this point, as the novel ends somewhere in the middle of a story.


Friday, 9 January 2015

Book review 3: City of Glass, Cassandra Clare

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

Things to know:

  • I read the original English version
  • It was published March 2009
  • It has 541 pages
  • It is set in New York and Alicante, Idris in 2007 (shortly after book 2)
  • I started: 6th January 2015 and ended it: 7th Jan

Now that Clary knows that there is a cure to her mother's coma, she needs to go to Idris to find the Warlock with the cure. Luckily the Clave even invites Clary to come to Alicante to speak with her, but Jace doesn't want her to go, as he is scared that the Clave will use her like an instrument. Jace asks Simon to lie for him, that Clary changed her mind and didn't want to come with them. When Magnus Bane opens a portal to Alicante (which is only allowed as some one is waiting on the other side for them), they are attacked by Foresaken and to save Simons live, Jace takes him with him through the portal. 
When Clary arrives at the institute shortly later with Luke, Magnus is waiting for to tell her what happened (except the part with Simon). Clary is panicking and finds out she can make portals of her own through which she goes, Luke follows her, and they land in Lake Lyn, which is poisonous for Shadowhunters.
Luke takes Clary to Alicante as quickly as possible to get her an antidote breaking some laws doing that as Downworlders aren't allowed to enter except if invited and even Shadowhunters are supposed to go through a guarded gate.
As soon as Clary is better Luke disappears and she is left with Amatis, Luke's sister. Feeling abandoned Clary goes to find Jace, who she finds kissing a girl. After the interruption Jace screams at Clary, who goes back to Amatis's house with a boy named Sebastian guiding her. Sebastian even helps her find the Warlock she is searching for.

At the same time, Jace finds out that Simon wasn't send back to New York by portal, but that he is imprisoned, left to starve...

This book can be read like the end of a triology, it doesn't have an open ending and all problems seem to be solved. 
I liked this book more than the previous one, it was catching from the first chapter, more happened and there weren't as many unneeded scenes. I like how it has a "happy ending" but not too happy. 
With some things which happened I would have loved a further explanation though. For example, how was Valentine able to catch Ithuriel. Throughout the series so far it seemed impossible, but how was he able to? And also how was he able to keep him imprisoned?
But maybe these questions will be answered in one of the 3 books left. Though honestly I doubt it. 

Well, I am happy I am already this far ahead on my reading schedule.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Book review 2: City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare

And here comes my second book review of the year. As this is the second book of the series, it will contain spoilers of the first book, so please don't read this if you don't want to know what happened in City of bones; it's only natural that what happened there will have influence on the second book!

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

Things to know:

  • I read the original English version
  • It was published March 2008
  • It has 453 pages
  • It is set in New York in 2007 (shortly after book 1)
  • I started: 4th January 2015 and ended it: 6th Jan

After Jace and Clary found out they are siblings in "City of Bones", everything is quite odd between them now. Jocelyn, Clary's mother, is still in a coma, and Clary is trying her best to find a cure, but she knows she has to find her biological father Valentine to somehow help her. Clary is trying to spend as much time with her best friend Simon, who she even starts dating, but Simon is acting very strange at times. 
And as if all of this isn't enough chaos already, Jace is thrown out of the institute by Maryse Lightwood PLUS Inquisitor Herondale suspects Jace to help his father Valentine. Jace gets himself sent into the prison of the Silent City (where usually murderers sit in), before he is interrogated by Herondale, the Silent City is raided by Valentine and something else and every Silent Brother who was there is killed. During this raid the Mortal Sword (the 2nd Mortal Instrument) is stolen and is accused to have helped Valentine to get it and only stay behind to be a spy for him.
Whilst all this happens Downworlder children die. First a Warlock child is found, drained from blood, then a Werewolf is found dead though the child couldn't be drained of it's blood anymore, but when a Fairy child dies, and the Clave and Herondale suspect the Vampires to be behind it, Luke has a different theory. Luke has heard of a story, in which the Mortal Sword can be turned into a weapon of evil by heating it 4 times, and every time cool it in the blood of a different Downworlder child. As Valentine already has Fairy and Warlock blood, he'll now need Werewolf and Vampire blood...

This time it took me a bit to get into the book, again it only starts getting really interesting in Part Two. 
Whilst reading this, I didn't always get why Clare would put certain scenes into the story.
Just one example being the scene at the Seelie Court. I really don't understand how it helped the story to force Jace and Clary to kiss each other. Even if they hadn't, the story would have gone the same way, and it is mentioned throughout the book that Clary and Jace still have (unwanted) feelings for each other. 
I can't really criticise more, as the series hasn't ended yet and there is more to come, and most things I didn't like are the same I didn't like in "City of Bones" (eg the fake sounding dia- and monologues).


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Book review 1: City of Bones, Cassandra Clare

So, here comes my first book review, being part of my New Years resolution of reading 52 books this year and writing a little about those. These won't always be full book reviews like I have to do for my literature class, but then again, I don't want to spoiler anyone too much :)
I really don't want to spoiler anyone, but it might contain light ones, which shouldn't make it less fun reading though... after all this is a review :P
My First book of this year was :

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments # 1) by Cassandra Clare.
Just some things to know for a start:
  • I read it in the original English version.
  • It was published March 2007
  • It has 485 pages
  • It is set in New York City and, even though it doesn't really say, I'd say, everything happens in our time and our world. 
  • I stared: 1st January 2015 and ended it: 4th Jan.  
Also, I have already read the "Infernal Devices" Series last year (which Lily recommended to me), which is a prequel to this, but written somewhere in between. You don't have to read the prequel beforehand, but I am glad I did, because I was able to recognise many surnames due to this. 

So, everything starts off with Clary Fray, a 15 year old redhead (she turns 16 during the story) and her best friend Simon who is a 16 year old geek. They already know each other for 10 years. They are off to the Pandemonium, a Club, where Clary starts to see people, nobody else can... She sees, how a beautiful dark haired girl her age lures a blue haired boy into a distant part of the Club and 2 boys, one dark haired, the other blond with a weapon, following them. Clary goes after them, leaving Simon to get the Security, as she wants to help the blue haired boy, but when she catches up, she quickly realises, that the boy doesn't need any help, because he is a demon, and the 3 other people are Shadowhunters, Demon-Slayers, protecting the humans, mundane, without them even knowing it.
When the Security comes for help, they can't see the Shadowhunters, and Clary and Simon go back home.
Only a day later Clary meets Jace, the blond Shadowhunter, again, during their conversation her Mum, Jocelyn, calls, but it is disrupted by noises and a scream from Jocelyn. 
Clary hurries back home to find a destroyed apartment and is attacked by a demon, which she can slay, but is poisoned doing so. Jace rescues her and takes her with him to heal her.
Clary soon finds out that she has Shadowhunter blood in her, and that her Mother, who disappeared, has lied to her in many occasions. As she tries to find her mother, she finds out more about her past and the world of demons, warlock and Shadowhunters...
I really liked this book it was very catching from the beginning, but latest after the first part of the book (it has 3) I was absolutely hooked and didn't want to put it down at all! I would have finished earlier, if I didn't have to work as much.
Many people criticise that this reminds them of Harry Potter Fanfiction, honestly I couldn't see this when reading. Of course, when it comes to Fantasy, everything seems to be linked. I tend to find links in stories which just can't be true. But honestly, City of Bones and Harry Potter (the at least the original and not the Fanfictions) happen in totally different worlds. And yes, I actually liked HP a lot when I read it!
Anyway, when reading, and criticising, you should always remember for which audience the story is actually written. City of Bones is recommended for 14 years and up. I am 21. I study Dutch and Art-Theory. For Dutch I specialise on Literature, for Art it's Mythology. My point is, I read - A LOT!
I have to admit, some parts of the story are just way too obvious, but remember this is written for 14 year olds and up. What might be obvious for me, a 21 year old fantasy and book loving person, might not be this obvious for a 14 year old, who doesn't read a lot outside of school work. And hey, even if there are small parts which are a little obvious, it can still be very fun reading it! I mean, the it's the 1st book of a series!
What I personally didn't like at all though, was that sometimes when characters were speaking, especially in long monologues, people didn't speak naturally. It just didn't sound like someone saying it, but as if they were reading out of a book. If you don't know what I mean, please look at the Chapter: "A Werewolf's Tale" again, I personally think, sometimes it didn't sound like person A telling person B a story which he/she was a part of, but rather a story out of a book. But this my taste, some people might like this kind of story telling.
I hope you don't think, that I am the kind of person who just says positive stuff about everything she reads, because I am not. If I don't like something, I'll tell you why I don't like it, but it is my opinion only and I think I should still be fair. The authors do put a lot of work in their books, and many live from them!
If, for my next review, you would like me to add some more things, info, or what so ever, please tell me. I'd be glad to get some help. After all this is my first review I wanted to do without spoiling too much. Usually, for Uni I summarise EVERYTHING and then analyse it. But I don't really want to bore you with a page long analysis why Clary's sofa might be read.

OK, so I hope to be able to write a nother post next week wit "City of Ashes", but as Uni starts again, and I have lessons next weekend too, I can't promise - but I will try :)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Mail Week 1

Happy New Year 2015!! I hope it will be a great one for you and that your mailboxes will be filled regularly :)

In my first week I received  4 letters and 2 Postcards. 

(My computer doesn't want to turn the pictures today, sorry)
Postcrossing, Netherlands

Eva, Germany

Eric, China

Ying, China

Tomomi, Japan - with super cute necklace

Tina, Slovenia
Pretty good start in the year.

Also I have New Years resolution: My plan is to read 52 books this year (in 2014 I read 61), but this time I want to a small review about each one. For my dutch classes I actually specialised on literature, so yes, I know how to write reviews, I can't promise you they will be very long ones though. My first book this year (began to read on 1st Jan) is City of Bones, quite well known, but maybe someone hasn't read it yet and wants to read a review.

Will update as soon as I have finished the book :)