Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Release Date: November 16, 2016

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 672

Source: Barnes and Noble

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft 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…Simon 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.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

5 out of 5 stars


I didn’t realize how much there is about the Blackthorns in this book! It just makes me that much more excited to reread The Dark Artifices series omg. I’m actual trash for Emma and Julian so seeing them… I’m totally not prepared for Lord of Shadows or Queen of Air and Darkness.

I love Simon, so this book is always enjoyable to read for me. I love these anthologies because they’re easy to read and give a little more information on my favorite characters. I forgot so much about this book. I think I’ve only read this one once, and the Dark Artifices weren’t published when this came out, so I didn’t understand the extent of the Blackthorns, but now I know. Now I understand, and like I said, I’M TRASH FOR THEM. I love all the characters so much wow.

Also, George. So cute. So sweet. I wish the thing didn’t happen to him. Sad.

The story with Alec and Magnus and baby Max makes me extra suspicious about this new baby. I think that Max is super fricking cute and I love reading about Alec and Magnus, but guys. Something has to happen with the backstory of this child. There’s no way it won’t come up in the Malec books.

I just love these books, everyone knows that lol. I loved them from the start and will FOREVER read everything by Cassandra Clare. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to a signing for a future book :)

Aubrey Joy

Review: The Man Who Quit Money – Mark Sundeen


The Man Who Quit Money – Mark Sundeen

The Man Who Quit Money

Title: The Man Who Quit Money

Author: Mark Sundeen

Release Date: March 6, 2012

Publisher: Riverhead

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 260

Source: Local bookstore

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings—all thirty dollars of it—in a phone booth. He has lived without money—and with a newfound sense of freedom and security—ever since. The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn’t pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare. He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs—for shelter, food, and warmth—but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement. By retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo from an idealistic childhood through youthful disillusionment to his radical reinvention of “the good life,” Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about the decisions we all make—by default or by design—about how we live. The Man Who Quit Money inspires us to imagine how we might live better.

3 out of 5 stars


This wasn’t really what I was expecting.

I think the tagline of this book is a little deceiving because yes, he did ‘begin to live’ in a completely new and different way, but his way of living seems very unique to him. I also don’t like paying taxes on the money that I make, but that doesn’t mean I want to go dumpster diving for every single meal.

Daniel Suelo’s life was really interesting to read about because there seemed to be so many coincidences, but more like manifestation turned into reality. I enjoyed the parts about his no money lifestyle, but wasn’t super super interested in a lot of the parts about the randomness of his life. He has had a very spiritual journey throughout his life which ended up kind of making a full circle, which was cool to see.

My favorite part of this book was at the end when there was information about sustainability and more eco-friendly living. That’s what I thought this whole book would be about, so I enjoyed getting to read about that even if it was just a short section. There were quite a few book and documentary recommendations that I will hopefully try and read/watch.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies – Ryan Mitchell


Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies – Ryan Mitchell

Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies

Title: Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies

Author: Ryan Mitchell

Release Date: May 1, 2016

Publisher: Adams Media

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 156

Source: my wonderful mother

Join the tiny house trend!
 
The tiny house movement is a big trend with a very small footprint. Extremely small house, with less than 1,000 square feet of space, are environmentally friendly, less expensive than typical homes, and often movable. Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is full of ideas for using reclaimed materials and upcycled goods to construct a tiny house that is good for the earth and truly unique. Ryan Mitchell, author of The Tiny Life blog, shows you how to repurpose everyday items to create your new home, including shipping containers, salvaged barn wood, and reclaimed shingles.

Featuring profiles on tiny house owners with photographs and floor plans of the homes, ideas on where to find materials, and what to look for and avoid when selecting reclaimed materials, Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is a unique book perfect for your biggest DIY project yet!

4 out of 5 stars


This book has me so excited to build my tiny house.

I’ve been obsessed with tiny houses for a few years now, and now that I’m in the transition stage of becoming an adult its been having me thinking about it more and more. Tiny houses are so smart. They’re sustainable and eco-friendly. They’re cheap so I wouldn’t have to have a 30 year mortgage. They’re easily moveable (if you have it on wheels). It just seems like the PERFECT option for me for a first home. So, I’ve been reading up on them more and more.

I love the idea of using reclaimed materials to source a majority of the things I would need to build a tiny house, and this book had some amazing tips when it came to finding and using reclaimed materials. This not only makes the build MUCH cheaper, it’s also so much more eco-friendly and sustainable because you typically are keeping a lot out of landfills.

There was one home in this book that really inspired me with the decor and layout. I want reclaimed wood flooring, a loft for the bedroom, and pretty much white everything. I love how light and bright the space looked! Here are some tiny house inspirations that I LOVE!

The living room is located under the bedroom loft and has room for a large couch. The couch shown in the pictures below is a Wayfair storage couch that converts into a bed.

Cozy and charming stops me in my tracks every time!  In fact, I'd choose a small house with loads of detail over a fancy mansion any day.…

Tiny House Tour: A Custom 160-Square-Foot Home | Apartment Therapy

They’re literally just the cutest things ever and I want to create one :)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo


Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 462

Source: Barnes and Noble

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

4 out of 5 stars


I totally understand the hype. I get it. I’m part of it.

Six of Crows follows a group of 6 criminals tasked with breaking a very important man out of prison, but not just any prison… the most well secured prison there is. They have to work together despite their differences, and if they succeed, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Some of this infamous band of thieves are called Grisha, who are people with magical powers that are able to be honed and used for either good or evil.

Six individuals. Six very different lives. Thousands of opportunities to fail. Can they complete the mission?

This book REALLY wanted to be a 5 star book for me, and it was almost there. It was still a really great book, but I think life stuff took over a little bit for me and it was kind of hard to focus on what was actually happening in my life, so my reading took a backseat. I am very happy to announce that I am now out of my reading slump! And I can give credit to this book yay thanks Leigh Bardugo.

Anyway, enough of the tangents.

I seriously LOVED theses characters. I loved their depth and complexity and how the whole book lends itself to being morally very grey, so it makes you wonder about each one of the characters. Every character is different and has a unique, very complex and detailed, backstory that just adds so much to the book. I also really enjoyed the multiple perspectives a lot. I honestly have felt like I prefer from one POV my whole life, but after this book I can totally totally totally see the draw for having multiple perspectives. I loved getting to see into each of the characters and learn more about their backstories.

Now here’s the deal. There is SO. MUCH. ROMANTIC. TENSION. IN. THIS. BOOK. I’m not saying sexual tension because no one actually got together… yet. I know it has to happen in the second book, but the set up for all the relationships? AMAZING.

These are spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to be spoiled *I promise you don’t* then come back again. Hope you enjoyed your time here, thanks byeeeee.

I’m going to break this next section into the (potential) couples and talk about them a little individually.

Kaz and Inej – Kaz is such a broken sad-boy, but he’s also super strong and cares so much, he just doesn’t know how to show it. He wants to love Inej, and he realizes that he truly does have feelings for her, but doesn’t know how to tell her. Inej has been falling for Kaz since day one, but he’s such a mystery that you can’t really blame her for not trying to pursue him seriously. I love that Kaz told Inej to stay in Ketterdam and even though she’s loved him for FOREVER she stayed strong and didn’t let herself be whisked away by his words. You go, Inej! I am kind of pissed that Kaz didn’t go after Inej at the end…. there will definitely be something about that and I’m predicting that Crooked Kingdom will start off with her.

Jesper and Wylan – I don’t know what it is, but I’m ALWAYS a sucker for a non-heterosexual relationship, and one is brewing here between Jesper and Wylan. I think I just see that love is love no matter what *honest opinion, it’s okay if you don’t agree* and it’s so cute seeing these two interact. I’m rooting for this relationship so much and I’m going to be really salty if it isn’t carried out well in the next book.

Nina and Matthias – Okay, I lied. There is definitely some sexual tension in this relationship. They’re not supposed to want each other, but they literally can’t help themselves. Even after everything that they’ve gone through, they NEED each other. Nina is going through some hard stuff at the end of this book because she sacrifices herself for the group (Matthias) and just wants everything to work out so she and Matthias can maul each other later, but we do get a very passionate kiss scene from them. Yay living vicariously through book relationships lol. I was SHOOK when Matthias seemingly betrayed Nina. Oh man I was pissed. But no worries, it all worked out within a few chapters, but you should have seen me furiously flipping the pages.

I love all the characters because, like I said, they’re all so complex and unique. Their backstories are so cool and that’s part of what makes this book so great. There is a depth to this book that is missing with a lot within the young adult genre.

If you can’t tell, I really did like this book, and I am SO EXCITED to read Crooked Kingdom. I’ve heard that it only gets better! I do think that I will reread this duology in the future because I think theres still more to unpack from this book. If you like fantasy, you should read this. You won’t be disappointed!

Aubrey Joy

Review: My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella


My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life

Title: My Not So Perfect Life

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Bantam Press

Format: Audiobook

Page Number:

Source: Libby

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle–from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet–not to mention a possible new romance–the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away–until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth.

4 out of 5 stars


My Not So Perfect Life follows Katie Brenner through her newly formed life in London at a fancy marketing company. She feels like she’s finally figuring the big city life out and enjoys her job… or so she tells herself. She’s so desperately wanted to love everything about London that she might be compromising with some of the things in her life. Like her hour long commute on the Tube, and living in a small flat with two roommates she doesn’t like. But she loves her London life, right? Katie is struggling at work to be noticed by her seemingly perfect boss, Demeter. Demeter has it all together, and Katie aspires to be just like her, and she’ll be able to once she can just move up in the company.

This book was EXTREMELY predictable, but it served it’s purpose as a contemporary novel. This was my first Sophie Kinsella book and I really liked the writing style! I thought it was fun and easy to understand; I listened to it on audio and the voice actor was also really great.

I could actually partly relate to a lot of the London struggles in this book because I just took a trip to England over my winter break at school. The Tube is fast and efficient, but also includes figuring out the stops and which line you need to get on going whatever direction. It was really cool because I actually recognized a lot of the place names she was talking about. I also really relate to the whole “this is what I’ve always wanted, why don’t I love it?” feelings Katie was having.

England, and London specifically, had been my DREAM for so long. Seriously so long. At least 10 years of my life, so when I got there and didn’t love it, I felt like something was wrong with me! I think Katie also had some of this struggle because of choosing to move there from the countryside of Somerset.

I think the romantic relationship in this book was kind of unrealistic, but that could also just be my “I’ve only ever been in one relationship and don’t know how to date” mentality. I think the ending where he came back for her was… kind of cheesy. It was cute, but not the kind of romance I prefer. I like the slow burn, still have each other against all odds, but that could also be my high fantasy perspective lol.

I loved reading about the countryside of England. If I were to ever live in England, which is very unlikely, I would want to live in a small country town where everyone has thick country accents and everyone-knows-everyone. I just love small towns because of their cosy feel, so it was fun to read about that. I think the farm setting made me feel at home, too.

Even though the relationship between Katie and Demeter changes by the end of the book and you get to see a different side of Demeter, I still wasn’t a huge fan. Just be a genuine person and portray yourself accurately and you won’t run into any of the problems she dealt with. I don’t know, it just seems counter productive to me.

Overall I think this was a cute book, and if you have traveled around the UK you would find it enjoyable! I definitely want to read more by Sophie Kinsella in the future, possibly the Confessions of a Shopaholic series.

Aubrey Joy

January Wrapup


Read:

  1. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World – William H. McRaven *review*
  2. Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo *review*
  3. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Meik Wiking *review*
  4. Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson *review*
  5. The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson *review*
  6. The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Jean *review*
  7. The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart *review*

Aubrey Joy