10 Reasons I didn’t Recommend: Shadow Hunter Edition

I am currently posting a series of videos on my BookTube channel (Elizabeth Tyree (Soul Stained Ink) in which I recommend books across age levels. As I was making lists and starting to film, I realized that there was one series that gets a LOT of hype but that I just really didn’t want to recommend people read. When I started really thinking on the whyfors of that decision, I found a few reasons behind it so…let’s count them down (shall we, yes we shall).


Top 10 Reasons why:

I didn’t recommend The Shadow Hunter books for fantasy and/or YA readers.


10) The world is not something incredibly new or exciting. Yes, Cassandra Clare did some interesting things with it. However, the idea of Nephilim, protectors, supernatural wars, and the mist that keeps mere mortals from understanding it all is a well-worn path. While that is not a turn off (and I actually like the books well enough) there isn’t enough of a different spin here to make it worth my effort to suggest.


9) The characters often flip their own personalities. They seem, in a few places, to be people who don’t know their own temperaments. Things that should be handled one way by a character, are most decidedly not. That is confusing, especially for new or slow readers.


8) Rampant Bullying. Think about this…There is a constant feel of bullying coming from the Nephilim, the vampires, the Fey. They all bully each other and seem to really LOVE bullying Clary and Simon as they come into the new knowledge of the Shadow Hunter world.


7) Unhealthy Relationships. Clary and Jase. Clary and Simon. Clary and the Lightfoots. Jase and the Lightfoots. Clary and her parental units. The List could go on and on. The relationships in this series are not typically good and/or healthy. They’re abusive, in multiple ways, and they’re often treated as inconsequential (except for the homo-sexual…who is bullied by himself. That was the only true feeling relationship I spotted).


6) Speaking of unhealthy relationships….EVERYTHING having to do with Jase and Clary’s forbidden love trope. Neither of them handles it well and, quite frankly, it’s a bit pathetic.


5) The evil being depicted is a fallen Nephilim. Yet another trope being trampled to death here. While he has a few decent lines, the use of him and his little minion boy falls quite flat for me.


4) The parental units or lack thereof. Seriously, the way they treat their parents and guardians and get treated in return is just ridiculous. To be fair, 75% or more of the books don’t even include parental type units.


3) The way magic handlers are, well, handled. Let’s see…Magnus Bane is flamboyant and insane and affects this personality but basically just makes it seem ok to do whatever want, to whoever you want, for whatever reason you can come up with. Consequences are a very real thing, no matter who you are or want to be!


2) Confusion, difficulty, and dismay…The books, especially the first two, are very difficult to get in to for many people. The storyline is convoluted and difficult to follow in places and it has discouraged many a reader. Though, to be fair, some people have found the struggle to help them move into the joy of reading. The writing style is hard to handle, drags, and often doesn’t provide the promised size of pay off.


1)     OVERHYPED this series is severely overhyped. It is everywhere you look. New series are being spawned left and right, following The Shadow Hunters all over the world and through the ages. People talk about this series A LOT. I don’t know that it deserves the amount of hype it gets. However, the fact remains that most people will have heard about Cassandra Clare and her Shadow Hunters. I wanted to recommend something people probably wouldn’t have already heard all about.

Weekly Goals

Just like last Sunday, I have 3 writing goals and a TBR.

Writing Goals:

  1. At least 3 chapters of Paulonious Punk
  2. Organize one or two character sections of The Way We Were
  3. Edit and Perfect (as much as possible) The Siren’s Tale


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Bonus Goal…send a query or two out to agents!

If you would like to know more about these goals, check out my BookTube video below. As always, I would LOVE to hear from you so leave me a comment and let me know what you’re up to this week.


Fallen in Review


By: Lauren Kate

Published By: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books,

a Division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Copyright 2009

Age level: Young Adult/Teen (Reviewer suggests upper teen – 14-18)

About the Author: Lauren Kate grew up in Dallas, went to school in Atlanta, and started writing in New York. She is the internationally number one bestselling author of Teardrop, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, and the Fallen novels: Fallen, Torment, Passion, Fallen in Love, and Rapture. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Fallen Back Cover Synopsis: There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. 

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screwups, and security cameras watch every move.

Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Danial is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.


Luce Price begins her journey as the victim of a mysterious fire that took the hair from her head and the life of her crush. Blaming the dark shadows that have been following her for her entire life, Luce is deemed an issue, a mental case, when she tries to tell her parents and the investigators what happened and so, this story follows her journey at a new boarding school Sword & Cross. Cell phones are not allowed, the school uniform is basically anything black, and the two hottest boys in school instantly take notice of the new scared girl. 

This book seems to promise readers a dark, gothic romance with supernatural elements and twists. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed. I do enjoy Lauren Kate’s voice and style of writing; however, this book did not showcase those in a manner I felt was well done or deserving of her talent.

While the few pieces of male perspective show their emotions quite well, the fast pace of Luce’s emotions and obsessions feels both forced and flat. Her new friends don’t seem to help much and the immediacy of those friendships also feels a bit forced.

The description of Sword & Cross Boarding School is interesting and drew me in with the peculiarity of her chosen arena. A cemetery as a picnic date backdrop, a hidden lake for a huge fight, and an old church building as the gymnasium add to the mysterious air of the story. However, the characters themselves seem to not be as developed as they should be and, quite frankly, the story feels as though it got 3/4 of the way through and then jumped ahead of itself. I preferred the last bit to be honest with you.

To be fair, these opinions are all my own and you may love this book. In fact, i would recommend the story to people who enjoy fallen angel tales. Especially those who love slowly paced plot lines that contain forced, holey, and underdeveloped characters and story lines.

While I give the front cover a 5 of 5 dragons, and the back cover/synopsis a 4 of 5 dragons, I am giving the pages between a soft 3 out of possible 5 dragons. I did enjoy several small parts of this book. However, the overall effect left much to be desired for me. If I stumble upon a library sale of the second book, I might pick it up and give it a go. I can only hope that the further the books progress, the more in depth the characters will become. However, that is about the only way I can see myself picking up the rest of this series.

You can find Fallen and the rest of Lauren Kate’s books on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and bookstores.

Lauren Kate herself can be found on Twitter and her website: http://www.laurenkatebooks.net

Ink and Bone – Review

I read Rachel Caine’s ‘new’ book Ink and Bone at the beginning of September. Being a huge fan of her writing style and creativity made me both excited to dive in to something new from her interesting mind…and anxious in case the book didn’t live up to my expectations.


When they released the book synopsis, I was even more intrigued. Because…well I’ll share the Amazon synopsis here and you can see for yourself what had me all jazzed:

Via Amazon.com:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.
When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.

SEE^^^ I know I might be a bit odd, but even after having read the book, I’m still excited every time I read a synopsis of it. Obviously, I liked it. In fact, like is not a strong enough word to convey the feelings I have for this book. It’s been a month and I honestly still have that ache that you get when you’ve fallen so completely in love with a story and it’s characters and then have to come back out of their world. I’ve said it before about this book (and been warned about speaking so highly of a book when I’ve just completed it) but after a month I still feel so strongly about this book that I’m going to go ahead and repeat: The last time I felt this strong of a connection to characters and events in a book was the last time I reread Harry Potter. Yeah, it’s that good. In fact, I believe that this is quite possibly the best thing Rachel Caine has put out to date.

Not only is the story unique, slightly twisted, almost steam punk, and incredibly well written…but the characters come to life. There are a few scenes that could probably have been cut or tweaked without losing anything in the story, but that’s almost everything that’s ever been written. Yes, there are a few things that made me literally scream at my book, throwing it across the couch or bed and wrapping my arms around my chest to keep from going ballistic. But those things did not in any way detract from the overall story.

Typically at this point I would do an in depth study of the ideas in story line, the character development, the grammatical errors, places I feel the story could/should have been changed, etc etc. However, I’m not going to do any of that right now. I am simply going to tell you that this book is one you should check out. The cover is beautiful, the writing is beautiful, the plot is unique and superbly woven together…and those surprise twists will hit you hard in the best way.

I give it 5 dragons out of 5 dragons for synopsis, cover art, and story. This is a book I’ll be reading over and over again and I honestly cannot wait to read the next one!

Have you read Ink and Bone? What did YOU think? I would love to know!

Author Interview – Janice Spina

Welcome, Welcome everyone! This week we are sitting down with Janice Spina, author of Chasing Mariah, Davey and Derek: Junior Detectives, and so much more!


Let’s get in to it:

What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

My own name – for children’s books – Janice Spina.
For novels that are for 18+ I use J.E. Spina which are my initials.

Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.
I have always wanted to be an author but didn’t realize my dream until after I retired. Official date of publication was July, 2013. Once I made up my mind to complete my first book and publish it I felt a great accomplishment. I couldn’t believe it and had to keep looking up on Amazon to see my book in print. It was very exciting! I did publish a sports’ poem in a local newspaper in 2008. That was my first publication. Each book since has been thrilling to complete and publish.

What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write for children, middle-grade detective/fantasy/magic, mystery/thriller, serial killer. As you can see I have an eclectic mix of genres. Writing in different genres keeps me fresh. My goal is to encourage children of all ages to read. By writing for different ages I may do just that.

What genres are your favorites to read? Why?
My favorite reads are mysteries, thrillers, detectives and historical novels. Mysteries fascinate me, detective stories make me think as I try to work out “who dun it!” Historical because it involves some real life which is a nice change from all the fantasy. I do also enjoy fantasy, children’s and middle-grade. It’s nice to read other authors’ work to compare notes and I always learn something along the way. I read as many indie authors’ books as I can to help support fellow authors. On Goodreads I have a goal to read 115 books this year and have already read 89. I will more than make my goal and enjoy every minute of reading these books.

Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
My first book, Louey the Lazy Elephant, is my favorite character. He is sweet and adorable and learns from his mistakes.
I love all the characters in The Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer. He is the master of creating fascinating and memorable protagonists.

There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
Just the thought of one of my books being considered would be very exciting! On the other hand there are a lot of things to consider especially if they do cut out portions of my book and make critical changes. To see them do that to my book would be heartbreaking and I would feel like they were tearing out a part of me. I would hope to have some say in what they do to my story.

How do you handle writer’s block?
Maybe I shouldn’t say this but I have been fortunate not to experience it yet. I write off the cuff and let my characters take me where they want to go. I always come up with a title first and go from there. When I sit at my laptop ideas fly around in my head and I just start typing. It’s almost as if they can’t wait to get onto a sheet of paper.

What inspires you?
My grandchildren have inspired me to write children’s stories and my middle-grade detective series. I thank God for the ability to be inspired and to do what I love to do every day for the rest of my life. Sometimes I find inspiration talking to children and parents during a book signing or while on vacation.

How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
That is funny! Yes, people do look at me funny sometimes when I say that I am an author. There are some who are impressed and others who snub their noses at the idea of a writer. I find it comical and don’t let it bother me because I am doing what I love to do every day. One thing that many people say to me is, “I always wanted to be an author.” You could say I am living out their dreams.
I always get that too…I think that everyone has a story in them and only the most creatively brave are able to let it out in a way that will appeal to others.
Finally, tell us where to go to find you 
I am on many social links as listed below.

Website: http://jemsbooks.com
Blog: http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/janicespina7
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Janice-Spina?store=allproducts&keyword=Janice+Spina

Cold Coffee Press: http://www.coldcoffeepress.com/janice-spina/

FB  http://Facebook.com/Janice.spina.9

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/user/show/17094469-Janice-spina
Pinterest:  http://Pinterest.com/janicespina
Twitter:  twitter.com/janice_spina
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102370955158139843400
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/com/pub/Janice-Spina
Tumblr: http://jjspina.tumblr.com

Moms Choice Awards http://store.momschoiceawards.com/index.php?entry_id=3571(Lamby the Lonely Lamb won Silver Medal here)

Trailer of Louey the Lazy Elephant:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfFNslKKX2s
Hunting Mariah Trailer: https://youtu.be/JZTu5R-kXhM

Thank you, Elizabeth, for this wonderful opportunity to share my books with you and your readers. I enjoyed this interview and spending time with you.

Thank you Janice for allowing us this small insight into you and your work! It’s been fun!


Remember, if you are an author, illustrator, photographer, agent, or publisher and would like to be featured in your own interview, leave me a message and we’ll get you set up!