Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
By Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wassmerman
672 pages | Nov 15th 2016 | Margaret K. McElderry Books


Simon Lewis has been a human and 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…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.

As a big fan of The Mortal Instruments series, it was no surprise that I found myself enjoying these stories. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, brought so many characters to life that we never really had the opportunity to get to know previously. Also it was a really interesting way to intertwine TID and TMI series together. 

Simon Lewis is ultimately my favorite character in the Shadowhunter world so getting more of him was a definitely bonus. Shadowhunters, while initially cool begin to grow to be annoying and overly strict. The Law is the Law, without any sort of mercy sort of makes them really dislikeable. Okay, more than sort of. I found that I ended up rooting for the downworlders and caring far more about their stories than those of the Shadowhunters. 

I throughly enjoyed each story for individual reasons but I will say it was difficult to read some of them.  There were certainly some that I enjoyed far more than others. These include, but are not limited to, Welcome to the Shadowhunter Academy and The Whitechapel Fiend

While each of the authors are gifted in their own way, it does sometimes read almsot like fanfiction, someone else bringing an authors words to life. While I enjoyed the stories, there was definitely some disconnect with what you expected from the characters and what they sounded like. 

Cassandra Clare. Sarah Rees Brennan. Robin Wasserman. Maureen Johnson

Don't Wake Me Up (Blitz)


Title: Don’t Wake Me Up
Author: M.E. Rhines
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

He’s charming, funny, and incredibly hot. The only problem is, he’s a ghost. When the chaos of school, her over-reactive mother, and her abusive boyfriend gets to be too much, sixteen-year-old Colleen turns to astral projection to escape it all. 

In the sanctuary of the astral plane, she mingles with the lost souls of the departed. They all need help to move on to the Summerland, and Colleen never turns down a spirit in need.

Until she meets Daemon. With just a glance, Daemon makes her forget all the turmoil back home. The calm is welcome and addictive, but Colleen knows the peace he offers will leave with him once he crosses over, forcing her to make a desperate decision: sever her ties to her physical body, or sabotage his salvation.


ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.
She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and nonsense is necessary.

She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen.


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Top 10 YA Halloween Reads

1)   Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

With the recent release of the film what better time to get lost in Jake's odd adventure! Fun with that hint of intriguing spookiness Miss Peregrine's is the perfect October read.

2) The Girl From The Well

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out. 

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

Inspired by the same beloved Ghost story that created The Ring, this tale will scare you right to the core!

3) Anna Dressed In Blood

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

A dark intricate boy meets girl story....with a spooky twist.

4) The Coldest Girl In Town

Coldtown was dangerous, Tana knew. A glamorous cage, a prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them.

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. And once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

A fresh unique take on vampires, this gory tale is bloody brilliant. A definite Vampire lovers read!

5) Asylum 

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he finds that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm—formerly a psychiatric hospital. 

As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline's twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum's dark past. Because Brookline was no ordinary mental hospital, and there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

6) The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

Delia's new house isn't just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females -- an insane asylum nicknamed "Hysteria Hall." However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep "troubled" girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia becomes trapped. And that's when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the hallways in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia learns that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, too, harbors shocking truths within its walls -- truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

And she'll need to act quickly -- before the house's power overtakes everything she loves.

Katie Alender brings heart-pounding suspense, gorgeous writing, and a feminist twist to this tale of memories and madness.

A chilling original tale of secrets. A compelling supernatural tale with strong female characters. A gritty ghost story with a twist.

7) Gretel

There is an ancient evil in the Back Country, dormant for centuries but now hungry and lurking. When it sets its sights on an unsuspecting mother one routine morning along an isolated stretch of highway, a quiet farming family is suddenly thrust into a world of unspeakable terror, and a young girl must learn to be a hero.

Back to the spooky Grimm style of fairy tales, this re-telling of a well known story is exceptionally chilling. 

8) How to Hang a Witch

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

An eerie tale showing what modern day lessons can be learned from Salem's darkest time. 

9) The Name of The Star 

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him--the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

A captivating modern-day ghost story re-ignites London Ripper-Mania

10) The Ghost Graylock 

Does an abandoned asylum hold the key to a frightful haunting?

Everyone's heard the stories about Graylock Hall.

It was meant to be a place of healing - a hospital where children and teenagers with mental disorders would be cared for and perhaps even cured. But something went wrong. Several young patients died under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, the hospital was shut down, the building abandoned and left to rot deep in the woods.

As the new kid in town, Neil Cady wants to see Graylock for himself. Especially since rumor has it that the building is haunted. He's got fresh batteries in his flashlight, a camera to document the adventure, and a new best friend watching his back.

Neil might think he's prepared for what he'll find in the dark and decrepit asylum. But he's certainly not prepared for what follows him home. . . .

Scary, suspenseful, and surprising, Dan Poblocki's latest ghost story will keep you turning pages deep into the dead of night.

Get your spooky read on!

The Swan Riders

The Swan Riders 
By Erin Bow
384 pages | September 20th 2016 | Margaret K. McElderry Books


Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path.

She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI.

If she can survive the transition, Greta will earn a place alongside Talis, the AI who rules the world. Talis is a big believer in peace through superior firepower. But some problems are too personal to obliterate from orbit, and for those there are the Swan Riders: a small band of humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.

Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan. But Greta’s fate has stirred her nation into open rebellion, and the dry grassland may hide insurgents who want to rescue her – or see her killed. Including Elian, the boy she saved—the boy who wants to change the world, with a knife if necessary. Even the infinitely loyal Swan Riders may not be everything they seem.

Greta’s fate—and the fate of her world—are balanced on the edge of a knife in this smart, sly, electrifying adventure.

Picking up precisely where you hoped it might, The Swan Riders explores more of the story we began in Erin Bow's The Scorpion Rules

I loved this book. I'm not sure how else to really express that sentiment other than to just say it. Beautifully written, engaging and utterly unique, The Swan Riders continues to play on one of our biggest fears as a society; What happens when our creations turn on us? Worse, what happens when we become our creations? 

The story explores the terrifying world in which a fearful Artificial Intelligence (A.I) leader is in control. However, it's a shift of view from the first book where we get to see the world of Greta and the human children. 

The Swan Riders takes a turn and instead begins to explore the side of A.I characters and Greta's journey as she struggles with the change in herself. I like that no one is painted as simply good or bad. It isn't entirely a human versus AI, the story is so much more complex than that. 

This is such a fascinating concept though I do wish we could have a better grasp on how humans were being turned into A.I. Instead of a simple explanation as surgery the curious nerd in me wanted to know more.

If you want a fresh, complex story that will keep you completely engaged, I definitely recommend The Swan Riders.  

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC of this book. 

In the beginning, I was a city girl from farm country—born in Des Moines and raised in Omaha—where I was fond of tromping through wood lots and reading books by flashlight. In high school I captained the debate team, founded the math club, and didn’t date much.

In university I studied particle physics, and worked briefly at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland. Physics was awesome, but graduate school kind of sucked, and at some point I remembered that I wanted to write books.  

Books:  I have six of them — three novels, and two volumes of poetry and a memoir (the poetry under my maiden name, Erin Noteboom). My poetry has won the CBC Canadian Literary Award, and several other awards. My two novels, Plain Kate and Sorrow's Knot, also have a fistful of awards, including Canada's top award for children's literature, the TD.   The third novel, The Scorpion Rules, still faces its award season. No one read the memoir.  

Right now I'm looking forward to the publication of my fourth novel,  a companion piece to The Scorpion Rules called The Swan Riders, which will be out September 20 from Simon & Schuster.  I'm at work on an new an entirely different novel, and a book of poetry about science. 

Did you notice I got to Canada in there somewhere?   Yeah, that was true love.  I'm married to a Canadian boy, James Bow, who also writes young adult novels.  We have two small daughters, both of whom want to be scientists.  

Final Divergent Installment to Air on TV

The Divergent series is a much-loved bookverse. The series sold millions of copies worldwide and millions of people grew to love the book's Heroine Tris Prior.

The third book in the series also devastated and angered readers worldwide.

Here's why.


So if you've already read the book you know, like many of the others in this YA world, that Tris dies.


After spending three full books growing to learn about Tris, about her life and her struggles. After watching her lose her family and friends, and growing to love and adore this character. She dies.

Aside from the crushing of your soul. Not a whole lot is really accomplished from this.

Arguably, the character's actions are well suited to her character. I couldn't even count the number of times I screamed at her to stop lying to Four. Countless times she sneaks off, purposely putting herself in harm's way in order to protect the others.

It really should have been no surprise that this was how the series chose to end.

Yet somehow this turn of events caused a HUGE disturbance in the force.

It's probably safe to say that this knowledge is one of the reasons that the Allegiant film didn't perform as well as expected in its 2016 theatre release. Also, potentially one of the main reasons the final installment has now been adapted to a Made for TV Movie. 

That's right. MADE FOR TV MOVIE. It will be joining the ranks of Lifetime specials and Disney Original Films. When you have a successful Franchise it's supposed to head the opposite direction!

Case in point High School Musical's 3rd installment saw a widespread, and successful theatrical release.

Star of the Trilogy and Tris Prior herself Shailene Woodley has said she is not interested is doing Ascendent as a Television production. So will we be seeing a new face on Tris? Or will the studio drop the resolution all together? 

Amidst the uproar of fans over this turn of events in the series, one of the films stars likes the twist in the book regarding Tris' demise. He's been quoted saying.

“I thought it was a natural — I thought it totally made sense. Her whole philosophy in life is selflessness and giving. She’s almost like a semi-Christ figure in that way. She’s endlessly selfless, and it seem like an obvious, natural course for her to give her life for the sake of others,” - Theo James (Four)

With the Television release of the probably unneeded (and might I add, non-existent in the book wold) Ascendent on the horizon, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Did you love or hate the ending of the Allegiant novel?

Did you see the 2016 film?

Will you be watching the premiere of Ascendent in its Television debut?

Let me know in the comments below!