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Queen of Air and Darkness

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they never could have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

At the end of Lord of Shadows, there’s a deleted scene. If that scene had not been deleted, this book would not exist.

Like its predecessor in The Dark Artifices series, this is politically topical, at least as far as what is currently going on in the United States. It’s almost scary how much it mirrors reality in the respect. However, it’s balanced out by occasional humor and family dynamics that tug at the heartstrings when it’s least expected. And of course, there’s plenty of adventure and will-they-won’t-they love drama.

One thing that seems to be unique to this book is the world building. The other books in the Shadowhunters franchise. Realistic fiction with magic and demons thrown in. Queen of Air and Darkness travels to another dimension, essentially a parallel universe in which almost everything is opposite than how it exists in the normal world. It’s interesting, to say the least, but it would have been nice to spend more time there and explore. Maybe Clare can work it into future books somehow.

This book definitely doesn’t disappoint, but it doesn’t exactly tie everything together with a pretty bow. There’s more storylines just waiting to be written.

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Spotlight

Wedding bells are ringing, but not for Melissa Parker. Months after shocking The Kind of September’s friends, family, and fandom with news of their engagement, Cory Foreman and Tara Meeks are ready to walk down the aisle, and Mel couldn’t be happier for them. At least, that’s what she’s supposed to think, especially now that she’s been recruited as a bridesmaid.

While Septemberists around the world are bracing themselves for the upcoming nuptials, Mel, Sam, and the rest of the guys are celebrating a new album, embracing new romances, and trying their best to avoid new rumors … Particularly those claiming that Mel and Sam are on the verge of ending their relationship.

The fourth book in the Boyband series by Jacqueline E. Smith might just be the best. The characters feel like family at this point, and the books where readers can connect with and relate to the characters are always excellent.

This book – as has come to be expected – had well timed humor and references that will make readers laugh out loud. And of course, there’s drama. There’s always loads of drama in the entertainment world of course, but this fictional drama is a whole other level. And don’t forget the plot twists. A good book and/or series always has a few, but readers won’t see these coming. At all.

Makes this book sound like something worth reading, doesn’t it?

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Spain seems to be confused

image: cascadellibro.com

I’m still working my way through Harry Potter y el prisoner de Azkaban. It’s actually my New Year’s resolution to finish it. However, there seems to be a translation faux pas.

Let’s break it down, shall we? Here’s a passage from the book in Spanish:

POR ORDEN DEL MINISTERIO DE MAGIA

Si recuerda a los clientes que hasta nuevo adviso los dementores patrullarán las calles cada noche después de la puesta de sol. Se ha tomado esta medida pensando en la seguridad de los habitantes de Hogsmeade y se levantará tras la captura de Sirius Black. Es aconsejable, por lo tanto, que los ciudadanos finalicen las compras mucho antes de que se haga de noche.

Felices Pascuas!

This is the same passage in English:

BY ORDER OF THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC

Customers are reminded that until further notice, dementors will be patrolling the streets of Hogsmeade every night after sundown. This measure has been put in place for the safety of Hogsmeade residents and will be lifted upon the recapture of Sirius Black. It is therefore advisable that you complete your shopping well before nightfall.

Merry Christmas!

The difference between the two is that “Pascuas” means Easter, not Christmas. And at other points in the Spanish version, it mentions “arboles de Navidad”, or Christmas trees. But then in the dialogue, Harry, Ron, and Hermione say “Felices Pascuas”. How did the two holidays get mixed up in the translation, and why does it switch from talking about Easter to talking about Christmas? The only thing I can think of is that someone had a bit too much “cerveza de mantequilla”, or butterbeer, while they were translating.

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Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One.

Before becoming America’s first ever network chief meteorologist or appearing on Dancing with the Stars, ABC News’s Ginger Zee checked herself into a mental health hospital.

Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One. is Ginger’s heartbreaking, hilarious, and harshly honest life story – from Dickhead’s (you won’t soon forget that name) deck on Lake Michigan to her storm-chasing dream at ABC News.

Ginger opens up about her lifelong battle with crippling depression, her romances that ranged from misguided to dangerous, and her tumultuous professional path. This cyclone of stories may sound familiar to some – it’s just that Ginger’s personal tempests happened while she was covering some of the most devastating storms in recent history, including a ferocious tornado that killed a legend in the meteorology field.

She also canceled her first wedding – twice – because she finally listened to her inner voice, which was saying This isn’t right, but then she happened to fall in love with her gay best friend. Yes, twice. Yes, gay.

On the sunny side, this book is for all the mistake makers who have learned to forgive others and themselves – even in the aftermath of man-made, or in this case, Ginger-made disasters. It’s a story that every young woman should read, a story about finding love in the world, and finding it in yourself.

I’m sorry, but I have to break a rule here, because I can’t be objective with this one.

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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Simon Lewis has been a human, a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter.  But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore.  He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him … but he doesn’t know how.  And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember, he can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again.  His new self.  Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems.  Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement.  And that differences – like being a former vampire – are greatly looked down upon.  At least Simon is trained in weaponry – even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

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Everybody’s Got Something

In Mississippi, where I’m from, there’s an understanding that hard times do not discriminate.  My mother used to say “Everybody’s got something.”  This is the story of my something and my road to something better.

So begins beloved Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts’s new memoir in which she recounts the incredible journey that’s been her life so far, and the lessons she’s learned along the way.  With grace, heart, and humor, she writes about overcoming breast cancer only to learn five years later that she would need a bone marrow transplant to combat a rare blood disorder, the grief and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away, her triumphant return to GMA after her medical leave, and the tremendous support and love of her family and friends that saw her through difficult times.

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Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction

Elizabeth Vargas, the barrier-breaking co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight and 20/20, bravely revealed that she is an alcoholic during a televised interview in 2014.  But what most people don’t know is Elizabeth has suffered from acute anxiety since childhood, and that after years of silent struggle, she turned to alcohol for relief.

Between Breaths is the story of Elizabeth’s lifelong battle with the condition, how it began at the age of six when her father was sent to the war in Vietnam, and how it continued to plague her, even as she rose to the top of a profession requiring flawless poise under pressure.  She chronicles her desperate attempts to conceal the terrifying panic attacks that gripped her while reporting on some of the biggest stories of her career, and she describes her descent into alcohol dependence and deception, and finally, her redemption through rehab, and learning how to better live with her condition.

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Turtles All the Way Down

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Picket, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate.  So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Picket’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying.  She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

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Written in my own Heart’s Blood

1778:  France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit.  At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married Claire, Jamie’s wife; his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is; and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker.  Meanwhile, Claire and Jenny, Jamie’s sister, are busy picking up the pieces.

The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland.  Or not.  In fact, Brianna is searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets.  Her husband Roger has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy … never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present.  Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target:  Brianna herself.

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The Girl on the Train

Every day the same Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night.  Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at a signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck.  She looks forward to it.  She’s even started to feel like she knows them.  Jess and Jason, she calls them.  Their life – as she sees it – is perfect.  Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking.  It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.  Now everything’s changed.  Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police.  But is she really as unreliable as they say?  Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation, but in the lives of everyone involved.  Has she done more harm than good?