The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes Discussion with Bec Graham!

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Who is ready for discussion II already? I know myself and Bec are! This one gets a tad long, but hey, I am not wiling to apologize for having fun. No one should ever apologize for having fun! It’s not our fault we have so many feelings. Blame Cassandra Clare! You could even go tweet this at her to let her know just how bothered you are. Go on, I dare you 🙂

If you missed my first discussion with Bec, you can find that here.

As per the usual, things are obviously going to get spoilery for those of you who have not read City of Ashes, or let’s be honest, at least through City of Glass. You should probably also be weary if you haven’t yet read The Infernal Devices, because you won’t understand the Herondale references. Which really, is such a shame that my heart hurts for you.

Alright, you have been prepped and warned. As always, please join in!

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C.J.

“No.” Alec’s voice was tight. “I thought he could go to Magnus.”

Isabelle made a sound somewhere between a sneeze and a cough. She turned away as the Inquisitor looked at Alec blankly. “Magnus?”

“He’s a warlock,” said Alec. “Actually, he’s the High Warlock of Brooklyn.”

Now I don’t mean to open this whole thing up with Magnus again, well actually I do mean too, but how in the hell does the Inquisitor for the freaking Clave not know who Magnus Bane is? I mean, it’s not exactly a secret that he has been involved in numerous Shadowhunter escapades throughout the years, as we know for sure, mainly the events of TID, as well as Valentine’s generation before the Uprising, and now this younger generation in TMI. It makes me wonder if something happened between TID and The Uprising that made Magnus shy away from Clave affairs? Maybe something in TLH? We know that Magnus has an interaction with James Herondale in 1903, in London, but then by the roaring 20’s he is back in New York, dealing much more with vampires and werewolves than the Clave. Other than the Clave being a bunch of prejudice d-bags, they don’t even really get much of a mention until his interactions with The Circle in 1989. Why the long sabbatical? What happened? I NEED TO KNOW. Although I don’t think this fully excuses the Inquisitor not knowing who he is. I mean, I know she married into it, but by the Angel, she is a Herondale.

Sidenote: I know I am rambling about things that we don’t know yet, and probably don’t know for good reason, but I think we need to know the story behind this sassy interaction:

“I’ve held prisoners for the Clave before,” Magnus said. The joking edge had left his voice. “I think you’ll find I have an excellent record in that department. My contract is one of the best.”

Was it Clary’s imagination, or did his eyes linger on Maryse when he said that?

Bec: 

 I’m kind of hoping for a second installment of The Bane Chronicles. I mean, there were, what, a dozen stories in the eBooks and we know there’s going to be some extra stuff in the physical copy of the Chronicles, but Magnus has had such a diverse, long, exciting life that I don’t think we have even scratched the surface of all of the things that he’s done in his life. I mean, we don’t even know what actually caused him to get banned from Peru. We just got a few stories from his times there. I think some things about Magnus are supposed to stay mysterious, like the man himself.

I totally agree with you about how the Inquisitor SHOULD know who Magnus is HOWEVER, she was focused on hunting Valentine and the other Circle members. And if you’re right and something happened between TLH and TMI that caused Magnus to shy away from the Clave (which, let’s face it, is probably true). Magnus might not be that well known to Inquisitor Herondale. Like, she didn’t hate Downworlders, but she hated the Circle for what it did to her family. As such, I think everything outside of the Circle went by without her knowing. And all of the stuff with Will and his descendants happened so long ago. I mean, if Stephen had felt the effects of Will’s relationship with Tessa, he never would have joined the Circle, because he had diluted Downworlder blood. What was that quote from Tessa?

“Stephen Herondale would have killed me if he’d ever met me,” said Tessa. “I would not have been safe living among people like you, or like him. I am the wife and mother of warriors who fought and died and never dishonored themselves as you have. I have worn gear, wielded blades, and slain demons, and all I wished was to overcome evil so that I could live and be happy with those I loved. I’d hoped I had made this a better, safer world for my children. Because of Valentine’s Circle, the Herondale line, the line that was my son’s children’s children, is finished. That happened through you and your Circle and your husband. Stephen Herondale died with hate in his heart and the blood of my people on his hands. I can imagine no more horrible way for mine and Will’s line to end. I will have to carry for the rest of my life the wound of what Valentine’s Circle has done to me, and I will live forever.”

So even though the Herondales and the Clave go way back (the Herondales ran the London Institute for years from what I can gather), that ended way before Stephen’s time. So Magnus would be a mystery.

I reckon Magnus’ constant bonding with Shadowhunters could have done it. Will Herondale left a permanent scar and that was in the late 1800s. I think Magnus got tired of becoming attached to some of the very few unprejudiced Nephilim and having to deal with the dickheads when he was trying to help his friends. So even if nothing super dramatic happened in TLH, I think Magnus would have started to pull away anyway. Because he cares so much for Will and Tessa, and I’m assuming their progeny that it all got too much for him. So he left. Self-preservation and whatnot.

C.J.:

Let’s talk about Luke for a second. I have always thought of Luke as kind of the older version of Simon. Caring, loyal, and ultimately, masters of the friend-zone. They are both complex characters, but not exactly unpredictable. You know they are going to be reliable, because that is what they are. They will do what they can to protect the people that they love, and even those they might not care for, as long as it is the right thing to do. What I sometimes forget is that both of these guys, Luke probably more than Simon, spend a lot of their time in the background. Luke is typically always there, but we don’t always get to hear from him. So when he drops wisdom like this, I get taken aback.

“If the boy went to his father,” he said, “knowing what kind of father Valentine was, it is because we failed him, not because he failed us.”

BOOM. I love the father/son thing that is going on with Luke and Jace in this book. It brings out a whole other side of Luke we didn’t see in CoB. Sure, he was always a father figure to Clary, but all of that was before we knew them. Flashbacks. He spends most of his time in CoB trying to convince Clary that he doesn’t even care what happens to her, or Jocelyn. So when he comes out and is willing to step up and act as a father for Jace, I developed a much stronger appreciation for his character.

Bec:

I love Luke. He’s like the perfect dad. And he doesn’t even have his own kids! He takes to looking after Simon and Clary like its nothing. Some of my favourite parts of TMI are when Clary or Simon talk about Luke looking after them as kids. It’s just so gorgeous. It’s like these tiny tidbits of normalcy in a world of runes and angels vampires and werewolves and fairies and warlocks:

Clary thought of Luke, Luke pushing her on the swings when she was five years old, higher, always higher; Luke at her graduation from middle school, camera clicking away like a proud father’s; Luke sorting through each box of books as it arrived at his store, looking for anything she might like and putting it aside. Luke lifting her up to pull apples down from the trees near his farmhouse. Luke, whose place as her father this man was trying to take. “Luke isn’t a monster,” she said in a voice that matched Valentine’s, steel for steel. “Or a murderer. You are.” (I know this is a CoB quote, but how awesome is it?)

Have you noticed the different father figures in TMI? You’ve got Luke, the perfect father. You’ve got Valentine, the abusive father (emotional, physical abuse). And you’ve got Robert, the absentee father. Mothers aren’t quite as blatantly categorisable. I’m wondering why the fathers are so different. You’ve got Jocelyn and Simon’s mum, but they aren’t really that different from each other. But the dads…I’m wondering what point Cassie is trying to make. I have an idealisation of the perfect dad. I mean, Luke isn’t perfect, but he’s pretty damn close.

I actually love the parallels between Luke and Simon. Because it’s so true and I totally missed it! They both get taken for granted a lot by the other characters, but they’re always there and both of them are super important. I mean, Simon with his special vamp powers and Luke with his pack leader status. Funnily enough, have you ever noticed that no one challenges Luke for pack leadership? I mean, he killed pack leaders to take control, but no one ever does the same to him. Or tries, rather. I think this shows Luke’s leadership skills. Even the Nephilim listen to him. Though, this could be the whole he-used-to-be-a-Shadowhunter thing.

C.J.:

To be honest, I always forget about Robert Lightwood. Not only is he absentee, he is an asshat to boot. I kind of hate that guy. I kind of think everyone hates that guy.

Bec:

Speaking of Simon, the whole Clary and Simon relationship thing. Cassie says she loves love triangles but the Simon-Jace-Clary one really doesn’t work for me. When Simon and Clary kiss it reminds me of when Will and Grace kiss. You know, that quick peck on the lips that’s basically a hug, just with lips? That sounds dirty, but you know what I mean, right? I mean, there’s no sexiness. There’s no sexual tension. It’s kind of like Clary and Simon are hugging.

 Kissing Simon was pleasant. It was a gentle sort of pleasant, like lying in a hammock on a summer day with a book and a glass of lemonade.

 Simon is in love with Clary, we know that, but we don’t really see it. It’s all very platonic, even this whole kissing thing. I kind of see the Simon/Clary thing as a way for Clary to try and make Simon happy while she’s making herself, and Jace, miserable. Not a consolation prize, but a way for Clary to try and make something right in a world gone mad. And Simon so wants Clary, but they’ve been friends for so long that passion is hard to bring to the table. Instead, the kissing is more just like a friend thing. Like sleeping on the same bed or holding hands. These sound like boyfriend/girlfriend things, but for Simon and Clary, these are just things they’ve done since they were kids. You know what I mean?

C.J.:

Agreed. It was always way weird to me, because you would think it would seem forced, since we all know Clary’s feelings for Simon have always been platonic, but it never seems forced at all. It was just…. eh. The phrase that comes to mind is “like kissing your brother”, but, well, in this case that is not even close to the best analogy.

Bec:

I really, REALLY hate the way Alec treats Magnus. Let me show you another stellar Alec Lightwood moment:

“We’re not dating,” Alec said again.

“Oh?” Magnus said. “So you’re just that friendly with everybody, is that it?”

“Magnus.” Alec stared imploringly at the warlock. Magnus, however, it seemed, had had enough. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in silence, regarding the scene before him with slitted eyes.

Alec turned to Jace. “You don’t—” he began. “I mean, you couldn’t possibly think—”

Jace was shaking his head in puzzlement. “What I don’t get is you going to all these lengths to hide your relationship with Magnus from me when it’s not as if I would mind if you did tell me about it.”

If he meant his words to be reassuring, it was clear that they weren’t. Alec went a pale gray color, and said nothing. Jace turned to Magnus. “Help me convince him,” he said, “that I really don’t care.”

“Oh,” Magnus said quietly, “I think he believes you about that.”

Alec is so stupid. Jace is trying to be supportive and all Alec can see is that Jace doesn’t love him in the right way (let’s forget for a minute that parabatai are FORBIDDEN to be in love). Not only that, but Magnus is right there. Magnus, who is crazy about this boy and Alec just goes right on ahead and hurts him anyway. I really do hate Alec. He acts like a spoiled brat, really. How come Izzy came out all awesome and Alec came out all needy and whingy and someone who threatens girls by shoving them against the wall. (See, now, Jordan had an excuse. Well, not really, but you know what I mean? But Alec never did! I hate him). And poor Magnus. I love Magnus. He deserves so much better. But, you know, the heart wants what the heart wants.

C.J.:

At least Magnus doesn’t just lie down and take it all the time. He does give a certain level of sass back:

 Magnus got to his feet. “I do believe that’s my cue to leave as well,” he said. Clary noticed he was avoiding looking at Alec. “I’d say it’s been nice meeting you all, but, in fact, it hasn’t. It’s been quite awkward, and frankly, the next time a single one of you will be far too soon.”

 Plus, we all know deep down why Magnus likes Alec so much. He fits his type perfectly. Black hair, blue eyes, damaged. He likes broken things.

 

Bec:

Oh, the sass is strong in this one. I love Magnus so much. Like, for instance:

  “And therefore,” said Magnus, squeezing Will’s arm with a meaning pressure, “we must go.”

         Will blinked at him. “Go where?”

         “Don’t worry about that right now, my love.”

         Will blinked again. “Pardon?” He glanced around, as if he half-expected people to be watching. “I – where’s my coat?”

         “Ruined with blood,” said Magnus. “Archer disposed of it.”

He nodded toward Camille. “Will’s been hunting demons all night. So brave.”

         Camille’s expression was a mixture of amazement and annoyance.

         “I am brave,” Will said. He looked pleased with himself. The painkilling tonics had enlarged his pupils, and his eyes looked very dark.

         “Yes, you are,” Magnus said, and kissed him. It wasn’t the most dramatic kiss, but Will flailed his free arm as if a bee had landed on him. Magnus had to hope Camille would assume this was passion. When they broke apart, Will looked stunned. So did Camille, for that matter.

(Clockwork Prince)

This scene always kind of spoke to me on more than one level. One the one hand Magnus was trying to get back at Camille and make her jealous, but on the other hand Will was gorgeous and drugged. Now, Magnus kind of took advantage, but no one got hurt. And Will wouldn’t remember it. I took this as a way for Magnus to pretend, just for a second, that Will would want him. Because WIll is so beautiful. And we all know Magnus likes pretty things. But then, in Clockwork Princess:

         “Do you think there’s a chance for him?”

         “A chance for who?”

         “Will Herondale. To be happy.”

         Woolsey sighed gustily and put down his glass. “Is there a chance for you to be happy if he isn’t?”

         Magnus said nothing.

         “Are you in love with him?” Woolsey asked – all curiosity, no jealousy. Magnus wondered what it was like to have a heart like that, or rather to have no heart at all.

         “No,” Magnus said. “I have wondered that, but no. It is something else. I feel that I owe him. I have heard it said that when you save a life, you are responsible for that life. I feel I am responsible for that boy. If he never finds happiness, I will feel I have failed him. If he cannot have that girl he loves, I will feel I have failed him. If I cannot keep his parabatai by him, I will feel I have failed him.”

Magnus helped Will discover the truth about his curse and so, it is because of Magnus that Will can finally have Tessa. But Magnus and Will’s relationship was fraught with difficulties. When Magnus sees Alec, I think he sees a way in which to have a simpler relationship with Will. Then Alec turns into a huge whiny bitch and Magnus puts up with it because he loves Alec (but I think because he carries Will’s looks and Will’s blood in him).

 Say, thoughts on Magnus’ relationship with Jace? Jace is a Herondale after all. And he is the master of the Herondale wit.

C.J.:

I love that Magnus and Jace’s relationship is literally sass from the get go. The moment that Jace walks into that party in CoB it’s all “Try not to murder any of my guests“….”Even if one of them spills a drink on my new pair of shoes?” and “keep it in your pants Shadowhunter” and it just keeps getting sassier. The thing I love about their relationship is I don’t think Magnus ever knew Jace was a Herondale any more than anyone else did, but he instantly liked him. There is never any real animosity between the two. I like to think that when Magnus found out that he was a Herondale it was like coming to a realization he didn’t even know he needed too. Like everything clicked into place. I also have more feelings about Magnus’ thought pattern after he finds out, but I will touch on that more in the CoG discussion because this will be forever long if I include it here!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Discussion with Bec Graham!

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Hello blog world, today is the day all of you have been waiting for! You know you have, don’t fib to yourself 🙂 I have been working on this awesome collab with Bec over at Infernal Imagination while we have both been re-reading The Mortal Instruments to fill up the days until City of Heavenly Fire comes out at the end of this month. Can I get an amen? That two year wait is almost over!

That being said, if you haven’t read City of Bones, this is going to be chock-full of spoilers. I would say to be safe, that if you have not read at least until City of Glass, to not read this post. Fair warning! For those of you who are thinking, “I saw the movie, that’s good enough, yeah?” No. Not even close. I can’t even explain to you how much that isn’t enough. However, that might be a whole other post.

Anyway, on to the discussion!

Please, please, please, feel free to join in! We want to know that you think too!

****

Bec:

“Alec moved, blindingly fast. A sharp crack resounded through her head. He had shoved her against the wall so hard that  the back of her skull has struck the wood paneling. His face was inches from hers, eyes huge and black. “Don’t you ever,” he whispered, mouth a blanched line, “ever, say anything like that to him or I’ll kill you. I swear on the Angel, I’ll kill you.”

 So many TMI readers have boarded the S.S. Malec. It’s adorable, angsty, and there’s nothing like having a gay couple in a book where the fact that they’re gay isn’t the main focus. But that scene, where Alec shoves Clary up against the wall and threatens her? I will never, EVER forgive him for that. It was his snarkiness and his violence that made me hate him. When I was re-reading City of Bones, I tried to keep The Bane Chronicles version of Alec in mind. But I just couldn’t. Every time he said something snarky or awful or, you know, threw Clary up against a wall, I just found myself hating him.

As a straight, white woman I can’t really relate to the whole coming-out thing. It is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience for those who have to make that particular rite of passage. I have had a few friends come out to me and there’s a look in their eyes that just breaks my heart. One day coming out will be a strange concept. One day, sexuality will just be accepted. But that could be generations from now. And while I can appreciate the tension associated with Alec’s situation, especially with such a homophobic organisation like the Shadowhunters, I don’t think that gives him the right to threaten someone’s life. Whatever else he does, no matter how kind he is, he will always be the character who made an unbreakable vow to kill someone if that someone told anyone he was gay.

Seriously, what does Magnus see in Alec? I hope it’s just the fact he looks like Will Herondale. Because I am drawing a blank.

 C.J.: Well, who wouldn’t fall for someone just because they look like Will Herondale? I know I would be all over that 🙂 I’m going to take this perfect opportunity to talk about my favorite part of Malec. Magnus freaking Bane. Magnus is by far my favorite character of the entire Shadowhunter world. Not only is he one of the most beautifully created characters I have ever read, Cassie has given him the most complex storyline and it just keeps unfolding. And that sass, can we talk about that sass? When he isn’t sassing Jace, he is busy putting him in his place with a sense of age and wisdom that it’s literally palpable.

 “If you insist on disavowing that which is ugly about what you do,” said Magnus, still looking at Alec, “you will never learn from your mistakes.”

 At this point in the story (Magnus’ party) keep in mind how much Magnus already knows. From the second he sees Clary, he knows exactly who she is, and probably why she is there. He knows who her mother is, who Luke is, who Valentine is. He was at the Uprising. Even though he may not know at this point that Jace is a Herondale, he definitely knows that Alec and Izzy are. He knows who their parents are, what they have done. What would it even be like inside that warlock’s mind? He has to navigate the present while dealing with all of the knowledge of the past hundreds of years. When he shows Clary her first runes from the Gray Book, he prefaces it with “all knowledge hurts”. I’m not sure that could more true coming from any other character.

Let’s not even mention that he is potentially spending his free time hanging out with Brother Zachariah trying to find a way to turn him back into Jem. WHAT. Mind blown right?

 Bec: I had never thought of that! OF COURSE THAT’S WHAT MAGNUS WAS DOING! Oh My God. I have to wholeheartedly agree about Magnus, up until the favourite Shdowhunter universe character. Mine will always, and forever, be Will Herondale. Seriously. I don’t think any real life man can compete. But Tom Hiddleston is welcome to try.

 C.J.: Side Note: Cassie wrote TID first right? At this point I am not willing to believe anything is a coincidence. The Gray Book? Correct me if I am wrong, but that book is never even mentioned in TID right? Did it even exist yet, or was it perhaps created by someone? It’s namesake maybe??

 Bec: I would so love for that to be true. But damnit, I don’t think it is. Tessa was a warlock. A unique warlock, but still a warlock. And I think the reason they might not mention The Gray Book is because of her not-Nephilimness. It’s not really relevant to Tessa so it’s not mentioned. Whereas it is incredibly relevant to Clary.

 C.J.: So true. They do give Tessa the Shadowhunters Codex though. Did I mention that Magnus shows up in that too? Damn that warlock.

 Bec: Can we just stop for a second and talk about the scene at Renwick’s, when Clary finds Jace all cleaned up while she goes looking for Valentine? Jace has an energy that explodes of the page in every single thing he does and says. Even when he’s only passing through a scene you can feel Jace. It might just because he has Herondale blood in his veins, and I do love me a Herondale man, but I think it’s more to do with Jace’s fierceness. He can be fierce while sitting next to Clary, glamoured, in a cafe. That’s our Jace.

But in that scene, Jace isn’t Jace. He’s awestruck and placid and stunned into a confused happiness when he gets his dad back. He is so happy that he forgives Valentine his horribleness to Clary. Jace had been on his own for so long that when he got his dad back, he didn’t want to lose him again. Can you imagine City of Lost Souls (at the end) Jace letting Valentine get away with the crap he let him get away with at Renwick’s? No, I don’t think so. I can’t even choose a quote from that scene to explain myself. The whole thing is way too painful. But seeing Jace like that spoke volumes to me. That hard, “impenetrable” shell that coats Jace is wafer thin. The emotions he hides could drown the world. Usually that vulnerability is only seen in glimpses. And usually only Clary’s there to witness it. But this…this was Valentine and Clary and Luke, all seeing Jace contemplating his “private miracle”. He can’t hide what he’s feeling. But more than that, it’s those emotions that blind him to Valentine’s true nature, even when it is laid out bare in front of him. Who could say that they wouldn’t react the same way in Jace’s situation? Valentine was his entire world until he was ten years old. How do you turn your back on that? How can you turn those feelings off when you see your entire world acting like…well, a villain? Yu can’t. This scene….I could write essays on this scene. Jace Wayland/Morgenstern/Lightwood…you are one complicated fellow. But maybe complicatedness is just part of the Herondale DNA?

 C.J.: Speaking of painful moments, let’s turn the tables a bit and talk about Hodge Starkweather. One of the beautiful things about re-reading, is that in some cases you already know how a character’s storyline is going to end, so everything that they do or say takes on a whole new meaning. In Hodge’s case, almost everything that he says, advice he gives, is a reflection of himself.

Where there is a feeling that is not requited,” said Hodge,” There is an imbalance of power. It is an imbalance that is easy to exploit, but it is not a wise course. Where there is love, there is often hate. They can exist side by side.”

In this situation he is talking to Clary about how Simon might come to resent her in time because she doesn’t love him the way he wants her too, but really he is saying so much more. Hodge loves Valentine, and it just might be the thing that he hates most about himself. He loves the Clave, but knows that he got the shit end of the deal after the Uprising.

Hodge knew there was a good chance that Jace had been raised not by Michael Wayland, but by Valentine. He spends the next 7 years helping Jace mold into the best Shadowhunter of his age. Not because he thinks Jace will ever join Valentine, but because he knows that he will do the opposite. He knows that he isn’t strong enough to resist his love for Valentine, so he trains those who he knows are strong enough to defeat him.

Hate the man all you want, but you have to admire his self-awareness and commitment to the cause.

Bec: I never really hated Hodge, I pitied him. But you are so right. And, plus, the whole fact that he knew he would betray the Clave? That he knew how he would act and knew that he wouldn’t do anything to change it? That takes a certain amount of strength. He didn’t even try and better himself because he knew he couldn’t. I kind of admired that, even though it caused him to do despicable things. Hodge had accepted himself. Like, he should have tried to be a better person but he didn’t. Maybe that’s a bad thing – actually it is a bad thing – but he showed an understanding of himself that many people just don’t have.

 C.J.: Hodge is definitely one of those characters that I want to know more about. We get so little of his backstory that it’s hard for me to understand his motives sometimes. He kind of reminds me of Sheppard Book from Firefly. Except that Book is obviously a way better person than Hodge ever was. Or is he? *cue mysterious Joss Whedon laughter*

 Bec: I have a conspiracy theory. You ready for it? Alec says something about there not being a mundane in the New York Institute for about a hundred years. But if we throw our minds back to TID, Sophie was a mundane. A mundane with the Sight, but a mundane nonetheless. She Ascended, but in the beginning, she was a mundane. So, my conspiracy theory is that something happens in The Last Hours that means no mundane servants are allowed within the Institute’s hallowed halls. Although, it may just be because Nathaniel Grey was such bad news for the London Institute back in Victorian England that word spread to New York and mundanes were forbidden from entering the Institute, lest something similar happen.

I wonder who the bad guy will be in TLH. Any ideas guys?

C.J: I bet Magnus Bane knows. Man, if I could spend one day in that warlock’s mind! Okay, I’ll stop talking about Magnus now. Probably.

Bec: Agreed. Magnus Bane knows everybody’s business, he knows everything about everyone. That’s why his hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.

Award Time is My Favorite Time!

The wonderful Andie over at thebookheap was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Award! Technically, there is no tag-backs, so I am just going to bend the rules a little and throw in right here in the beginning that every one of you should go check out her blog. She loves Neil Gaiman and J.K Rowling, I am not sure you need any more encouragement than that!

Here are the rules:

liebster-award-rules

11 Random Facts about Myself

1. I grew up in a teeny-tiny town and went to a very small school. I graduated with 17 kids in my grade and it was amazing.

2. I have a cat that I love to hate. Her name is Charlie and I have no idea how old she is. We basically just tolerate each other.

3. I could eat a peanut butter & jelly sandwich every single day of my life and never get sick of it.

4. My favorite color is green.

5. I am only 5’3.

6. The first book I ever remember reading was The BFG by Roald Dahl.

7. I have one brother and one sister. I’m the youngest!

8. I am expecting a little boy at the end of July! Yay!

9. I have been married for almost 4 years! That may seem like we got married pretty young to most people (I was almost 21, he was almost 19), but really that is pretty much the norm in the state of Utah lol we had been together for like 4 years at that point and lived together for 1, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise to anyone! We did wait 4 years to have kids, which is definitely not the norm for Utah though.

10. My whole family has moved out of the state and left me here! My brother is in the Army and lives in Colorado, my sister is in the Reserves and lives in Michigan, and my parents both work for the government and live in Oklahoma. Needless to say, we travel quite a bit.

11. I love sports. I played varsity basketball and volleyball for all four years in high school and ran track and cross country. I still play volleyball any chance I get and love to workout. I’m kind of crazy, I know!

Bloggers I Nominate!

I quickly realized that I don’t follow that many blogs with less than 200 subscribers.

1. Bec @ infernalimagination.

2. Kate @ didthatjusthappenblog

3.Natalie @ browsingbookshelves

4.Amy @ odetokatnissandjo

5. The Ninjas @ discombobulatedbooks

Andie’s Questions!

1.If you had the chance to rewrite the ending of a book, which book would you choose, and why?

Allegiant by Veronica Roth and Requiem by Lauren oliver. Can I get an amen?!

2.How have you found your book blogging experience so far?

I absolutely love it! I have met so many other bloggers who love the same things I do, and found my new favorite way of getting book recommendations.

3.What is your favourite Season?

Fall! Or Autumn, depending on where you are from and what you call it. I live in a mountainous/desert area and the only time we really get color is when the leaves change.

4. Favourite book genre?

I’m just going to go with fiction. Broad I know, but I can’t pick just one!

5. Most influential book you’ve read?

The whole Harry Potter series changed my life. It is what made me love to read, and I would say that has been pretty influential.

6. Most under-appreciated book in your opinion?

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Probably An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Everyone tends to focus on Looking for Alaska and The Fault in our Stars (rightfully so, because those books are amazing) but I feel like his other stuff gets swept under the rug a little. Maybe it’s because people didn’t like An Abundance of Katherines as much? But I did. I thought that book was hilarious.

7. Did you read much by yourself as a child?

Yes. All the time.

8. Audiobooks: Yay, or Nay?

I absolutely love audibooks. Like I said above, we travel a lot, which means we are in the car a lot. Audiobooks are perfect for that. Also, I always play one at night to fall asleep. Why wouldn’t you want Neil Gaiman reading you to sleep every night?

9. Do you prefer books with “Classic” looking covers (aka just the title in simple font) or do you prefer the more modern versions with images and pictures on the cover?

I do love a pretty cover, so I tend to gravitate towards covers with images on them. As long as those images aren’t a girl with her head out of frame or people who are half-naked. Or movie covers.

10. Do you have a goodreads account?

I sure do. Go check that shenanigans out!

11. Do you want to be an author yourself? Or are you happy just to be a reader?

I am perfectly satisfied being a reader. I have never wanted to be a writer, but if a story showed up in my head that I thought was worth telling, I’m not saying I wouldn’t give it a shot.

Questions for you! 

1. What is the first book you remember reading?

2. Hardcover or Paperback?

3. Dog-ear pages or bookmark?

4. Who is your favorite literary character?

5. How do you feel about book-to-movie adaptations?

6. Coffee or tea?

7. What is your favorite food?

8. What is your favorite music genre?

9. Who is your favorite author?

10. What is your favorite holiday?

11. Where is your favorite place to read?

And here is the pretty award to put on your page 🙂

liebsteraward

Frightening Fall Friday! Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Check out all the info on what I am reading for Frightening Fall here!

Dracula

As he spoke he smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-looking mouth, with very red lips and sharp-looking teeth, as white as ivory. One of my companions whispered to another the line from Burger’s “Lenore”.

Denn die Todten reiten Schnell.”

For the dead travel fast.

Initially, as most of you know, I didn’t really like Dracula at all in the beginning. Fortunately, I later realized that I just didn’t really care for Jonathan Harker’s writing style (and that I was getting really confused because I kept switching Harker and his boss, Mr. Hawkins, in my head). The novel is composed of different journal entries, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and those kinds of things from our protagonists. The story begins with the journal of Jonathan Harker, on his journey to Dracula’s castle in Translyvania. That’s the dry bit. Don’t let it deter you from the rest of the novel, because once it gets into Mina’s POV, it gets much better.

Mina was actually my favorite of the narrators. Even though she does tend to ramble, I found her narrative the smoothest to read. I thought I would for sure identify more with Van Helsing, but apparently the woman in me decided to show itself!

I do have have to say, that I never really found Dracula himself scary at all. The story does get suspenseful at times, but I was never really freaked out by the whole vampire thing. That patient of Seward’s though, Renfield? That dude was terrifying with his whole eating-animals-to-consume-their-life-force thing. Seriously?

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I always tend to struggle with classic literature. Even if I absolutely love the story, I find myself skimming more than I am actually reading because I just don’t really care about drawn out descriptions of things that do not really matter to the plot. However, it is not that the writing itself is bad, I just have a hard time with it.

It’s not you Bram Stoker, it’s me.

Onto the next one! I will be starting The Woman in Black in the next couple days, and I am ready to be spooked!

 

Frightening Fall Friday: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

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Check out all the info on what I am reading for Frightening Fall here!

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Well, this wasn’t what I expected.

The Turn of the Screw was actually the short story that I was most excited for. When I was looking up possible reads for Frightening Fall, this was one of the more popular suggestions. Now I am kind of scratching my head. Did I miss something?

The Turn of the Screw is about a woman who agrees to become a governess to two little kids out in the country. Their parents died and they are in the care of their jerk uncle, who pretty much offers her the job under the pretenses that he doesn’t much care how the kids are, just as long as he doesn’t have to see or hear anything about them. Ever.

For some reason, she doesn’t see this as a glaringly red flag. She accepts the job and goes off to the country to begin her new job. Upon arriving only the little girl, Flora, is there along with some of the staff. Miles, the little boy, is still at school and will be there in a couple weeks.

A few days on the job, and she receives correspondence from Miles’ school (forwarded on from aforementioned jerk uncle, unopened)  pretty much saying he is expelled from school and can’t return after the holidays. After meeting Miles and deciding he couldn’t hurt a fly, she is curious as to what warranted his expulsion at all.

Then, she starts seeing ghosts. However in the story they tend to call them ‘horrors’, which I actually quite like. Anyway, these ‘horrors’ turn out to be people who are associated with the children and the property. Hi-jinks ensue!

Actually, no. Hi-jinks should have ensued. It would have been brilliant. Instead, she spends her time waiting around for these things to appear, and secretly accusing the children of being in on it. She spends the whole time whining about how the children never tell her that they can see them, and don’t admit to knowing that they are there. Well, lady, maybe if you freaking asked the children they would tell you. Alas, she never really does until the end, and then what happens? I am sure you can guess.

Plus- did I mention Henry James threw some child molestation into the mix. Yeah, that happened. And in the end, the story just ends. You don’t find anything out. No questions are answered.

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Uggghhhhh. I hate stories like that. I know, I know. It leaves it open for interpretation. It is set up to be a ghost story being told at a party (which by the way was the best part of the whole thing). But come on.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend this one at all. Unless, of course, someone can enlighten me as to what I may have missed. Then by all means, I am open to changing my mind!

***

Fortunately, Henry James can turn a pretty phrase. Check out my favorite quotes from the story here!

Three Ghost Stories by Charles Dickens

FrighteningFallFeatureCheck out all the info on what I am reading for Frightening Fall here!

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I got these three on Kindle for free here! Yay free reading!

#1- The Signal Man

This story was by far my favorite! It is about a man who becomes acquainted with a Signal Man who works for the trains that run in the underground of London. Basically, his job is to warn the trains if there is danger on the tracks or any problems by use of a light or a flag. He thinks he is going mad because he keeps seeing an apparition on the tracks warning that something bad is going to happen, but without solid proof he is worried that if he signals danger without grounds for it, he could be fired and people will think he is crazy.

The story is spooky and mysterious. I could not guess the outcome even though I was trying so hard. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, like a good mystery always does. Dickens achieves in a short story what some mystery novels fail to do in 500 pages. I absolutely loved it!

#2- The Haunted House

This story is actually a portion of a bigger story written for a newspaper by various authors. It is about a man who goes to live in the country in a haunted house. He eventually decides to create a little experiment. He send his whole wait staff home and invites a few friends out so they can all share and run the house on their own, which apparently was unheard of at the time.

They thought it was a fun and novel thing to be assigned to chores. They are each assigned to a different room in the house and corresponds to the titles of each chapter that a different author writes. Dickens wrote the introduction as well as “Master B’s Bedroom”.

The introduction was the best part. There is this bit with him on the train with this crazy guy that is just hilarious. However when it gets into the chapter in Master B’s room, it gets pretty odd. It kind of doesn’t even make an sense and he ends up lecturing about life and teaching some big metaphorical lesson that was just stuffy and boring.

I wouldn’t recommend this story at all. Aside from the bit on the train. It really was clever and entertaining.

#3- A Trial for Murder

This story is about a man who is called to serve on a jury for a murder trial. Previously, he had been experiencing visions and apparitions that are connected to the trial. The story goes on to explain the visions he had in the courtroom and how the apparition was effecting the others in the courtroom as well.

This one was just…okay. It didn’t blow me away and I felt like there was no real cohesiveness to it. It just didn’t make much sense at the end.

All in all, The Signal Man is the only one I would recommend. If you can get your hands on all of the sections of The Haunted House it may be worth a read, but the sections contained in this one were kind of confusing and random.

Basically, read The Signal Man. It is so worth it. If you are looking for a short spooky story to use in the classroom or at an activity, this is totally it!

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If you want to check out the quotes I liked from these stories, you can find those here!

Three Ghost Stories by Charles Dickens [Quotes]

He had no complaint to offer about that. He had made his bed, and he lay upon it. It was far too late to make another.

*

“What did you say?”

“I said, ‘Below there! Look out! Look out! For God’s sake, clear the way!’ ”

I started.

“Ah! it was a dreadful time, sir. I never left off calling to him. I put this arm before my eyes not to see, and I waved this arm to the last; but it was no use.”

*

There was no wind, no rain, no lightning, no thunder, no awful or unwonted circumstance, of any kind, to heighten its effect.

*

I hadn’t been to sleep at all;—upon which question, in the first imbecility of that condition, I am ashamed to believe that I would have done wager by battle with the man who sat opposite me. That opposite man had had, through the night—as that opposite man always has—several legs too many, and all of them too long.

*

“Is it haunted?” I asked.

The landlord looked at me, shook his head, and answered, “I say nothing.”

“Then it is haunted?”

“Well!” cried the landlord, in an outburst of frankness that had the appearance of desperation—“I wouldn’t sleep in it.”

*

I gently hinted these considerations to the landlord. And as to this particular house having a bad name, I reasoned with him, Why, how many things had bad names undeservedly, and how easy it was to give bad names, and did he not think that if he and I were persistently to whisper in the village that any weird-looking, old drunken tinker of the neighbourhood had sold himself to the Devil, he would come in time to be suspected of that commercial venture!

*

I am unable to say whether she was of an unusually lymphatic temperament, or what else was the matter with her, but this young woman became a mere Distillery for the production of the largest and most transparent tears I ever met with.

*

She has a fine genius for poetry, combined with real business earnestness, and “goes in”—to use an expression of Alfred’s—for Woman’s mission, Woman’s rights, Woman’s wrongs, and everything that is woman’s with a capital W, or is not and ought to be, or is and ought not to be.

*

With these profitless meditations I tormented myself much. I also carried the mysterious letter into the appearance and pursuits of the deceased; wondering whether he dressed in Blue, wore Boots (he couldn’t have been Bald), was a boy of Brains, liked Books, was good at Bowling, had any skill as a Boxer, even in his Buoyant Boyhood Bathed from a Bathing-machine at Bognor, Bangor, Bournemouth, Brighton, or Broadstairs, like a Bounding Billiard Ball?