Book Interviews, Books, podcast

Podcast episode 37: Cassandra Clare on her newest Shadowhunter book, connecting with fans, and keeping the creative gas tank fueled!

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Welcome to episode 37, where I chat with bestselling author Cassandra Clare!

I’m so glad I got to sit down and chat with Cassie about her upcoming novel CHAIN OF GOLD, and we cover lots of great topics! I started by seeing how her life has been over the past few years with all the books and movie/tv stuff. We then get some insight into where CHAIN OF GOLD came from by taking us through the creation of The Infernal Devices and how that lead to these new characters. She talks about the unique writing challenges that come with a book that has both a past and a future locked in, and how she still kept the story surprising. We dig into her amazing connection with fans, work-life balance, and the importance of putting fuel in your creative tank. We also talk about what it was like writing a queer character in a time period that can’t use today’s verbiage. We also spend a bit of time talking about her upcoming adult novel SWORD CATCHER, what it was like writing in a new world and as an adult fantasy. All this and more on this episode of the Ink Feather Podcast! 

Also, be sure to enter the international giveaway for a book and some rare swag! Don’t wait to enter, the giveaway is running only until 11:59 pm EST on Monday February 17th, 2020!:

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Book Editorial, Books, Editorials

Lytherus’ top ten new release young adult books you CAN’T miss this fall!

top ten young adult book releasesFall is the time for reading. The weather’s turning colder, days are getting shorter, and it’s perfect for snuggling up with a book. Lucky for us, there is a ton of great young adult books coming out this fall. Our team sat down to compile our top ten list of most anticipated fall young adult novels you can’t miss out on! Here’s a list of our top ten choices to look forward to:

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (September 10th)

antigoddess-kendare-blakeKendare Blake made a mark for herself with Anna Dressed in Blood, and now she’s beginning a new series with Antigoddess  the premise of which begs the question, ‘What if the immortal gods started dying?’ Stay tuned next week, we’re going to be featuring Kendare and this book Monday through Friday! Here’s the summary:

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.


The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (September 17th)

dream-thievesFor those of who haven’t read book one in this series (The Raven Boys) yet, you’re seriously missing out. But now’s a good time, because book two, The Dream Thieves, is just around the corner. The world has been established, but many questions go unanswered, and Maggie left readers hanging with the final sentence of the first book, leading right into book two (which is hinted at in the title!)  Here’s the summary:

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….


Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston (September 17th)

frozen-melissa-de-la-cruz-michael-johnstonMelissa was made popular by her vampire series Blue Bloods. In this endeavor she pairs up with her husband to co-write Frozen, the first book in a new series about a futuristic frozen Los Vegas, a forbidden magic, and a journey that could change lives. We’re going to be featuring this book on Lytherus, so stay tuned! Here’s the summary:

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes
find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.


Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (September 24th)

steelheart-brandon-sandersonWhat if there were really superheroes in the world? What if every single one of them, without exception, was evil? What chance would regular people stand against such forces? And how can someone defeat the invincible? These are some of the questions raised in master storyteller Brandon Sanderson’s upcoming book Steelheart. It’s every bit as epic as it sounds, and we’re going to be featuring it during it’s release week, so definitely stop back! Bonus: there’s a chapter excerpt if you want to get started now. Here’s the summary.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson, comes the first book in a new, action-packed thrill ride of a series—Steelheart.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.


Unbreakable by Kami Garcia (October 10th)

Kami Garcia/UnbreakableGhosts! Murder! Secret societies! These are some of the awesome things featured in Kami Garcia’s new book Unbreakable. This is her first solo project after the very popular and much -loved Beautiful Creatures series she wrote with Margaret Stohl, and it’s one of the most anticipated books of the fall. And Lytherus managed to snag an exclusive interview with her for release week, so be sure to check it out! Here’s the summary:

I never believed in ghosts.
Until one tried to kill me.
When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, she doesn’t realize that paranormal forces are responsible–not until mysterious identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.
Kennedy learns that her mother’s death was no accident, and now she has to take her place in the Legion of the Black Dove–a secret society whose five members were all murdered on the same night, leaving the Legion in the hands of the next generation: a misfit group with unique skills.
As the new members race to find the only weapon capable of destroying the demon, they use their individual talents to battle paranormal entities and earn their rightful place in the Legion–except for Kennedy.
If she is truly the missing piece of the puzzle, can she stay alive long enough to find out–without losing her heart in the process?
Protect Yourself.
What you can’t see CAN hurt you


The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (October 8th)

the-eye-of-minds-james-dashnerWe’re James Dashner fans here at Lytherus, and this new book, the first in a new series, has promise to be one of our favorites this fall. James uses the awesome imagination we loved in The Maze Runner series and delivers it again in The Eye of Minds, a futuristic cyber world filled with intrigue and adventure. And gaming! And hacking! It should be a good one, especially if you’re a fan of scifi, gaming, or the world of coding. We’ll be featuring Dashner all of his release week, so be sure to stop by. Here’s the summary:

From James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.


Allegiant by Veronica Roth (October 22nd)

allegiant-veronica-rothIf I had to pick the top YA book that’s most anticipated this fall, it’s Allegiant, the conclusion to Veronica Roth’s superb Divergent series. With the Divergent movie coming out next year, this series has been everywhere. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how it ends. Here’s the summary:

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.


Teardrop by Lauren Kate (October 22nd)

teardrop-lauren-kateTeardrop is the first book in a new series by Lauren Kate. We’re going to be featuring her all of release week, and having already read and advanced copy of the book, we can say that this book is fantastic. It feels fresh and new, and fans of Lauren’s Fallen series will gobble this one right up. Fans who love fantasy, adventure, and romance should also definitely not miss it. Here’s the summary:

The first in a new series by Lauren Kate, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series, TEARDROP is an epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away.
Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.
But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.


The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare (October 29th)

the-shadowhunters-codex-cassandra-clareThis is more of a companion book than an actual novel, but for fans of Cassandra Clare and anything Shadowhunter, this is going to be a must-have. This is the Shadowhunter instruction manual, and not only that, it’s Clary’s actual copy, complete with her personal sketches and notes. This should be a very cool insight to the morals and creation of the demon killing machines fans of the series know and love. Here’s the summary:

Delve into the details of all things Shadowhunter with this illustrated guide to the knowledge and lore of the Shadowhunter world.

Since the thirteenth century, the Shadowhunter’s Codex has been the one and only manual for Shadowhunters looking to brush up on their demon languages, learn proper stele use, and discover just what exactly a pyxis is. Featured in both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, this guide is a necessity for any young Nephilim on their journey to becoming a Shadowhunter. Beautifully illustrated, the Codex contains images of the famous Shadowhunter homeland of Idris, as well as depictions of demons and other Downworlders.
But this isn’t just any copy of The Shadowhunter’s Codex. It’s Clary’s copy, and as an artist herself, she’s sketched pictures of her friends and family in the book, and scrawled helpful advice in the margins. Of course, she couldn’t exactly stop Jace or Simon from adding their thoughts either. Part encyclopedia, part history, part training manual—complete with commentary from Shadowhunters who have seen it all—this beautiful guide is a perfect supplement to the #1 New York Times bestselling series.


Curtsies and Consperacies by Gail Carriger (November 5th)

curtsies-and-consperacies-gail-carrigerThis is book two in Gail’s young adult series, set in the same world as her steampunk Parasol Protectorate series. Murder, mayhem, and manners abound in these books. They are a riot to read, and really creative. I’m sure Curtsies and Consperacies will continue that legacy proudly. If you’ve never read any, start with the adult books and then move on to the YA. You won’t be sorry. If you’re up to date, here’s an excerpt of book 2. Here’s the summary:

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

BONUS BOOKS: There are several books that didn’t make the list, not because they lack quality but because they just recently released! If you’re looking for a great book to read while waiting for one of the books on this list to come out, check out some of these fantastic readers:

We’d love to hear in the comments which books you would have put on the list, if any of your most anticipated books didn’t make it! Happy reading!

Book News, Books, Movie News, Movies, News

First Look at Clary from the ‘Mortal Instruments’ Movie!

Fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series are probably aware by now that there’s a movie in the works. Though the first film isn’t set to hit theaters until August 23rd of next year, the first glimpses of the characters we love are being revealed.

Today, Entertainment Weekly released the first official sneak peek photo from Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Here’s Clary Fray, played by Lily Collins, showing off a shadowhunter rune:

Clary Fray, played by Lily Collins.

The author had this to say about the image: “Clary has the ability to both create new symbols and make runes that are stronger than other people’s. In this scene, she is fending off an enemy with the first rune that she’s ever drawn on herself at the amazement of the other Shadowhunters. It was very reassuring to come on set and see everything covered in runes and replicated down to the last detail. The movie was definitely made by people who love the books and wanted to do right by them.”

The first official trailer is set to release later this week, be sure to check back with us! Want more? Cassandra Clare did an awesome exclusive interview with about casting and movie spoilers, so be sure to check it out here!


Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

A Slow Start For City of Fallen Angels, but Worth Reading!

For those of you who follow my reviews, you would have noticed that I’m not shy about my love of Cassandra Clare’s books. My enjoyment of her Mortal Instruments trilogy doubled when I learned she was extending the series to be six books, the first of which came out April 5th of this year. City of Fallen Angels picks right up where City of Glass left off, and though it had a slow start, Clare finished the book in her typical exploding style. This might contain some spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the first three, so beware (if you’re curious about the series, feel free to read my review of book one, City of Bones).

Clary is back from Idris, along with all her Shadowhunter and Downworlder friends. Her mom’s about to get married to Luke, local werewolf and all-around wonderful guy. And she’s finally with Jace. After all the stress, heartbreak, and just plain Hell they went through, a happy ending is at last on the horizon.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy in this world, which is proven once again when Shadowhunters start showing up all over New York City dead. Downworlders are suspected, putting tension on the recently-created truce. Clary’s personal life starts taking a turn for the worse as well. Her best friend Simon is having a terrible time since he told his mom he’s a vampire—he has nowhere to live, and even more, all sorts of powerful Downworlders are after him, thanks to his Daywalking abilities.

Then Jace starts to pull away. Clary has no idea why, and the more she pries, the more distant he becomes. Something is lurking under the surface, some truth connecting all three of these events… if only she could figure it out.

This book was a bit of a rollercoaster, and not in a good way. Out of all of Clare’s books, this is my least favorite. It honestly took me to almost 200 pages to start to enjoy the story. Though I was revisiting characters I loved, they seemed flat and typical, their actions predictable to me. I wasn’t connected to the story, even though some pretty significant things happened in those 200 pages.

However, having said that, the ending more than made up for the slow beginning. About half-way through the book something just clicked for me, and the pages couldn’t turn fast enough. The layers of plot and the struggles the characters went through—particularly Jace—were rich and filled with the adventure, suspense, and sexual tension I have come to expect from Clare’s books.

I also loved the way she continued the story. Usually in a trilogy or series, we read to the climax and then have no more insight into the characters we have loved. Does Harry ever encounter another wizard ready to take over the world? Will Bella ever fight the Volturi once and for all? Trips end, people die, love is lost and found, and life moves on. But what happens to them? I think it is unrealistic to expect that fantasy worlds have no more issues once the big baddie is taken care of. With City of Fallen Angels, we get to see that continuation of life. And the way the author connects the first three books to the second is simply brilliant—well-written, and unexpected.

With the disconnect at the beginning, was this book worth waiting it out to get to the end? I’d definitely say yes. Maybe it would have felt more connected if I had read it immediately following a read-through of the first three books. Next time I do that, I’ll have to let you know. Either way, the things I have come to expect and enjoy from Cassandra Clare as an author were there, building up towards an ending that was well worth wading through the disconnect.


Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Recommendation: “City of Bones”

This is one of my favorite series. Since there has been discussion recently here at Lytherus about the new 4th book in the series, the movie which is being cast at the moment, and the Steampunk elements in Cassandra Clare’s branch-off story Clockwork Angel, I thought it was a good time to post the review I wrote when I first read this extraordinary book.

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Released:  03/27/2007

Imagine walking into a club and witnessing a murder. Even stranger, the killers are teens, completely unashamed about what they’re doing, and the victim disappears as soon as he’s killed—because he’s a demon. This is the opening to Cassandra Clare’s extraordinary book City of Bones, the first in the Mortal Instruments series.

Our protagonist, Clary Fray, is almost 16, and suspects nothing unusual in her life prior to her witness of the demon murder. But she soon learns about the mystifying teens and what they actually stand for. They are Shadowhunters—the official term for demon killers—spending their entire lives hunting and killing the monsters that come to wreak havoc on the earth. Beautiful, strong, sexy, and aloof, Clary can’t help but be intrigued by them, especially the smart-alek Jace. When her mother disappears mysteriously and Clary is attacked by a demon in her own apartment, she has nowhere else to turn but to the Shadowhunters for help. This one occurrence begins an unraveling of a series of events, pushing Clary into a world she never even knew existed. Secrets and truths are revealed, and as the story continues you begin to see just how involved her life actually is. Plus, all of this is happening in the dark and familiar streets of New York City. Toss in the Downworlders—vampires, werewolves, faeries—and Clare creates a world rich with both common fantasy elements and fresh new ideas.

I love the way the author has constructed this world and the people in it. Our main character is wonderfully believable, quirky, vulnerable, and stubborn. The supporting characters in this story are bright shining souls, beautifully written. Clare captures their distinct personalities incredibly well. And though the majority of the book is told from Clary’s point of view, occasionally she jumps into the head of another character, giving us an even fuller view of the situations at hand. But the author also attacks things on a spiritual plane as well, something not done as often, and it is executed brilliantly.

My favorite part of this book is the fact that Clare wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of traditional writings for young adults. She includes elements in her story that some might call controversial, but it only adds to the complexity and beauty of the plot. Plus she executes it in such a fashion that it blends seamlessly into the story around it. I’d go into more detail, but to do so would reveal some of the wonderful facets of this brilliant book.

This was one of those stories that I read from start to finish in one sitting. I couldn’t get enough of it, couldn’t read it fast enough, and didn’t want it to end. The climax was so shocking, so wonderfully uncomfortable and edgy, that I cannot wait to pick up book two. If you like real-world, urban fantasy, you don’t want to miss this one.

Written by: Lauren Z.