The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass by Cassandra Claire Review

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS POSSIBLE!

War is coming for the Shadowhunters. With Valentine in possession the Mortal Cup and the Mortal Sword, all Shadowhunters have been called back
to their home of Idris, namely the famed city Alicante. Having learned the secret to saving her mother rests in the hands of a powerful warlock
named Ragnor Fell, Clary sets out to travel to Alicante, but Jace Wayland, her recently revealed brother, refuses to let her come, and decides to
take off before she can tag along. However things take a complicated turn as Jace and his family depart, and soon they are portaling through to
Alicante with a reluctant guest, Simon, Clary’s best friend and recently turned vampire. Things get even more complicated when Clary finds a way
to portal herself to the Shadowhunter home, and meets some complex problems in the process. She soon becomes steeped into the political storm that
is The Clave, and her arrival comes just as Valentine prepares to wipe out all Shadowhunters who oppose him. With their very lives at stake,
truths will be revealed, and shocking events will lead Clary to take a crucial war in the impending war.

With the very world of the Shadowhunters on the line, the stakes have never been higher in Cassandra Claire’s epic fantasy YA series. The history
of both the larger than life Shadowhunter mythology will be explored, as will the complicated family drama of the various Shadowhunter clans,
including Clary, Jace and Valentine’s connections to one another. Bringing a very real sense of gruesome horror to the fantasy series, the themes
of morality, the definition of a true monster and love are all clearly brought to life in this third entry in the series, and the strong
emotional archs given to each character is addicting and palpable to read. This book makes it easy to see why The Mortal Instruments has become
a worldwide phenomenon, and although there are plenty more books in the series, this is a satisfying conclusion to the Mortal War trilogy. Be
sure to read The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass today!

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes by Cassandra Claire Review

The second novel in Cassandra Claire’s epic series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, really ups the ante in terms of action, drama and
mythology. Having just completed it for a second time, the novel really builds on the foundations of the first book and makes a bigger, more
open world within the same confines of New York City.

Faced with a startling truth, Clary struggles with her new life, being caught between her friend and the life they once shared and the new,
terrifying reality that demons and monsters roam the Earth and go hidden amongst the humans. Jace Wayland also struggles with a new reality, and
faces the scrutiny of the Clave, especially the judging eyes of The Inquisitor, a woman charged with upholding the laws of the Shadowhunters.
However they both will come to learn that their new realities are the least of their concerns, as Valentine returns, and brings an unstoppable
army that threatens to overrun the Shadowhunters. They must find a way to stop him before he can raise his army, but along the way they’ll face
shocking revelations, and twists and turns that all lead to a massive action scene that builds up to the next book in the series.

The depth of these characters and the supporting cast is phenomenal. The rich mythology introduced throughout this book really serves to
bring to life the bigger plot, and it’s easy to see why this series is not only so massive, but has spawned countless spin-offs. The complicated
relationships between these characters really builds up the drama ten-fold, and the introduction of modern social issues, (family, sexual
identity, etc), helps makes this one of the most compelling YA series to date. Tune in for the upcoming review of TMI: City of Glass, coming
soon!

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green Review:

OK, I’ve stopped crying long enough to write down this review. From the title you can tell why all the feels were happening for me. John Green’s
masterpiece novel, The Fault In Our Stars, tells the story of Hazel, a young girl diagnosed with a form of cancer and living a detached, lonely
life. However, she soon meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor who helps her realize the power of forming connections with others, even if
she fears hurting them when she passes. This is the base of the story, but there is so much more that makes this such a powerful and emotional
story.

Many are familiar with this story after the well known film adaption starring Shailene Woodley, but even if you haven’t seen the film, the book
is written in such a way that picturing the characters in your mind is like you are watching a film. Rather than fantasize the romance between
these two characters and paint a picture of overwhelming happiness, the book depicts the gruesome reality of the battle with cancer, both
physically and mentally, and the toll it takes on each individual. It deals with heavy issues, from family and love to mortality and leaving a
legacy of some sort. The very real way that the author writes this romance story helps the audience connect on a deeper level with the characters,
from the two leads to the most base secondary characters sprinkled throughout the novel.

By novel’s end, the realness of the story creates an emotional impact that very few books have done in the last decade. The character development
in this book is unique and original, creating mature teens feel real and refreshing rather than stick with the stereotypical teenager obsessed
with popularity or dating the cutest guy/girl in school. This is a real book that needs to be read, and sticks out as the strongest of John Green’s
novels to date. If you haven’t yet, read The Fault In Our Stars today!

Black Widow: Forever Red By Margaret Stohl Review:

The Marvel Universe has expanded into the YA book genre with Margaret Stohl’s “Black Widow: Forever Red.” The story does a masterful job of
delving into the mysterious history of everyone’s favorite assassin turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Natasha Romanoff. After a mission to stop the
man who broke, trained and turned her into a weapon ends with a young girl saved and the man supposedly killed, Natasha finds herself inexplicably
connected to the young girl she rescued. However, because she was trained to be an agent and not an open person who makes personal relationships,
Black Widow disappears from young Ava Orlova’s life, leaving her in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Years later, Ava is trying to fit in as a normal
teenager in Brooklyn, but her experiences and connections to her past has left her unable to let people past her own barriers.

Soon however, life get’s complicated for Ava. Children across Easter Europe have gone missing, and when Red Room technology is rumored to be
involved in the abductions, Black Widow fears her old teacher and tormentor may have survived their last encounter, and Ava might be the only
one who can stop him. Reemerging into the teen’s life, Black Widow and Ava must unravel the mystery and their pasts that remain in the dark
from even themselves, and will end up discovering a bigger mystery involving the dark-eyed teenage boy who walks through Ava’s dreams, sporting
an hourglass tattoo.

The mystery of this book’s story makes it one of the most thrilling political YA novels I’ve ever read. The way this book blends the thriller,
Cold War-era political mystery and YA romance genres is brilliant, and getting to learn more about this bad ass and strong character Natasha
Romanoff makes it addicting to read. Getting a chance to peel back the layers of the Black Widow’s history and mixing it with the governmental
politics of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a stellar storytelling technique, and fans of the Marvel universe will love the surprise characters involved in
the story, and the intimate look at a brand new character like Ava Orlova. The novel is filled with tons of action, romance and a fast-paced
plot that will leave you craving more by the last page. With a sequel in the works, Black Widow: Forever Red is a strong first entry in Margaret
Stohl’s Black Widow series, and Marvel has done an excellent job of entering the world of storytelling through novels. Pick up your copies today!

The Night of Elisa by Isis Sousa Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity in return for a fair and honest review.
Many thanks!

If Penny Dreadful and American Horror Story were to be combined into one super project, it would look a lot like Isis Sousa’s “The Night of Elisa”.
This beautifully illustrated horror and suspense novel takes readers through a unique story in a Victorian era setting with a phenomenal
array of various characters. The story follows Elisa, a mysterious girl who is fleeing a troubled past, and Leonhard, the man who finds Elisa
but fears she’ll discover his dark history.

Taking the reader through an almost Beauty and the Beast style story with some more mature and
horror filled elements for sure, this is a story that needed to be told, and the cinematic and visual representation of the story through the
mixture of art and story makes this one of the most unique reads I’ve read in 2016. The interesting take on this story made it almost feel like
a classic novel written in the Gothic era the story is based on, as if it were a manuscript previously unknown to the world and recently discovered
by historians. That is the power of Isis Sousa, and her beautiful tale of Duskland and the characters in this mystery land is one of the most
original horror stories to come out in recent years. Visually, character development wise and settings wise, “The Night of Elisa” is a must
read novel that readers will be fully engrossed in, and this reviewer hopes to see a sequel to this incredible tale.

The Netflix Theory: How Streaming and Premium Shows Have Changed How We View Television

Someone once said, “The times, they are a-changing…”, or something like that. I think this applies greatly to the world of entertainment, in
particular to how television is viewed. When cable television reigned supreme, we took on shows and appreciated them for what they were, even
if that meant poor writing, cheesy one-liners, and poor special effects. However, with the invention of premium and streaming services, shows
such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Daredevil and Jessica Jones have provided a new standard for groundbreaking television. With these shows,
have we as a society entered a new realm of entertainment?

I pondered this recently as I watched the premiere of a show on the newly dubbed ABC Freeform, called Shadowhunters. Based on the acclaimed book
series by author Cassandra Claire, after watching the show I found myself kind of taken aback. As a fan of both the book series and the film,
I had high hopes for the change to a television format, and yet I found the dialogue, the special effects and the many changes to the story too
difficult to enjoy the show. The changes to the story, several of the characters and the uneven pace of the story itself just made it
uncomfortable to watch. Then I began to think about the shows that are succeeding and have succeeded in recent years, and I asked myself, are
the high standards of these shows making it difficult to enjoy others?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming the actors on the problems with the show. I can give you an example of what I’m talking about. Everyone
knows Shailene Woodley from her incredible work in films such as The Descendants, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars. However, she had a
massive role on the ABC Family original series, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, and that show was another example of cheesy lines,
unbelievable plot developments and more. Everyone has seen what an amazing actress she is, but because of poor writing, the show and the actors
on the show suffered.

Writing defines great television, as does most entertainment projects. The expertly crafted works of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Daredevil and
Jessica Jones have brought some amazing performances from the actors on these shows because of deep and invigorating writing teams that have
perfected the art of television. Not only that, but maybe what has made these shows breakout is the fact that they are less restricted in their
content.

What I’ve noticed as a consumer of these shows is that when a show restricts itself in some way, whether it be time constraints, dialogue choices
or just how realistic and gritty the visuals are, (i.e. sexual scenes, blood, violence, etc.), the show tends to suffer in production and
character growth. One cable network that is leading the charge to compete with the streaming and premium channels is The CW, which has their shows
push the limits with smart writing, strong visuals and not as heavy restrictions, allowing their shows to prosper and grow, and lessening the
amount of cancellations the network suffers.

So the question remains: Has the rise of premium and streaming television changed how we consume and enjoy shows? It certainly has for this
writer, and I think it’s changed for the better. After years of seeing great television shows get the ax from big networks because of an old,
outdated way of viewing numbers, its great to see higher forms of art taking shape on streaming and premium networks. 2016 looks to expand
these amazing types of shows, and it’s no wonder big screen actors are now flocking to television shows for their next big roles. This is my
Netflix Theory!

Interview with Frank Freudberg:

1) Tell us a little about yourself and your book, Baby Please Don’t Go.


I’m a ghost writer, journalist and novelist. I’m married with one
teenage son and we live outside of Philadelphia. I’ve been writing all
my life. I’ve always loved writing and working for myself – even going
as far as dropping out of high school to pursue my craft. I believe in
Mark Twain’s adage: Never let your schooling interfere with your
education.

2) What was the inspiration for this novel?


My son – and every parent’s nightmare: losing a child, no matter how that loss may occur.

3) What would you say the biggest difference/challenge was between writing this novel and your previous novel, Find Virgil?


The two books are wholly different and Find Virgil is a pure thriller while Baby Please Don’t Go fits squarely in a non-existent genre some have called “modern noir romance.”

4) What or who inspired you to create the characters in this book, like Lock and Natalie?


The two characters you mention are amalgams of people I know, including a few people who I wish I didn’t know.

5) What authors or books helped inspire you and your writing?


Thomas Berger, author of 20 novels, including Little Big Man. I like to say he’s America’s greatest living novelist – however, I can’t say that as he died a year and a half ago.

6) What would you say interests you more from a writer’s perspective: developing the plot or the characters?


That’s
an easy one for me: characters. Once I have detected a heartbeat within
a character I’m trying to bring to life, the plot kind of suggests
itself. “Character is drama,” someone said. I agree.

7) What characters in Baby Please Don’t Go do you sympathize or identify with more than the others?


I most identify with Lock; I share some of his troubles and some of his joy.

8) Have you ever wanted to dabble in other genres besides the thriller genre, or is this a genre you are passionate about?


I
don’t feel like I need to stick with one genre. I love writing and I
write what presents itself to me. In both the novels mentioned in this
interview, I wrote the books and only then did I notice that (at least
one of them) might fit into an established genre. I’ve often wondered if
there’s a genre called, “Don’t Waste Your Time,” since that was the
sentiment of more than one Amazon reviewer. Speaking of Amazon
reviewers, I recently received a 1-star review that simply said,
“Haven’t read it yet.” I guess she’s clairvoyant.

9) If you could bring any of your characters to life and have a sit down chat with them, who would it be and why?


It would be Lock’s boy Augie. If I state why I’d want to chat with him, I’d be providing a spoiler, so, I can’t elaborate.

10) What advice would you give to any aspiring writers out there?


“Sit
in your chair and relentlessly put black on white” and, to quote
novelist Rita Mae Brown, “Don’t hope more than you’re willing to work.”

Thank
you so much for speaking with us, and I wish you luck with all your future endeavors.


Thank you, Anthony, for this opportunity to speak to you and your audience. Best regards,
Frank Freudberg