Why The Mortal Instruments Series is Important to Me

Pre-warning: there are NO City of Heavenly Fire spoilers in this post! 

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This past Tuesday, shop May 27th was the day that City of Heavenly Fire hit bookshelves. It is the very last book of The Mortal Instruments series. While we are going to be in the world of Shadowhunters for years to come, sale what with The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours series coming to bookshelves, this series is the one that started it all. I will get to read more of Shadowhunters and the Shadow World but it was bittersweet to say goodbye to Clary, Jace and the rest in this series. If you haven’t had a chance, you can check out my spoiler free review here, or my spoiler filled vlog here.

I haven’t been this sad of a series ending since the day that I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and that’s because I think the Mortal Instruments come in at a close second to the Harry Potter series, in what they mean to me and what they have done for me. The Mortal Instruments will NEVER touch Harry Potter for me, but Harry Potter has been in my life since I was 10 years old so…I highly doubt anything will ever be as important as that book series.

But the Mortal Instruments. I first picked up the books about four years ago. Four years ago, my life was….difficult. Not really hard. I have always been fairly lucky in the life that I’ve had, even during the hard times, even during the struggles. But four years ago, I went through something that was pretty hard for me. My boyfriend and I both went through something hard, and instead of turning to each other, we turned against each other. We stopped showing affection to each other, we were fighting all the time, it was awful. We broke up. And what was the worst about it was…I not only had the task of dealing with the heartbreak but no one understood, really, why it was more than just a normal heartbreak. I was dealing with so many emotions. My boyfriend had gone on tour with his band, so he was well distracted but I was at home, stuck in my own thoughts, miserable.

So what do I do when I’m miserable?

Head to a bookstore, of course. I went on a trip to Borders. (Oh Borders, how I miss you). I needed to get out of the house, I needed a distraction, to get out of my own head. Back then, I wasn’t a blogger so I wasn’t as involved with the book world as I am now. Now I go into a bookstore and I recognize so many titles that I despair that I can only purchase one or two. Back then, I had to rely on just looking on titles and things like that. I was wandering the Young adult section and the title “City of Bones” jumped out at me. I read the back, decided that I liked it well enough and purchased it. I went home that night, and dove into it for the first time.

The next time, I was at the bookstore and purchasing City of Ashes. I went back the VERY next day to purchase City of Glass. I read the snippet of Clockwork Angel at the end, and waiting eagerly for it to come out a couple months later. I waited patiently for the release of Fallen Angels the next year, and met her for the very first time. The speed in which this books came crashing into my life and stayed there permanently is incredible and it still kind of blows my mind. Only one book series had done that since then, and still not with the way that this series did.

I loved the story, I loved how it weaved the familiar world that we know with this beautiful fantasy world. I wanted to be a Shadowhunter. I love tattoos and the fact that they could bring you strength and agility and things like that blew my mind. I loved the weapons and the Institute. I loved Idris and this country tucked away from everything else. Everything about this world was fantastic to me. There was romance and action and lots of humor and sarcasm. I fell in love with all the characters.

But I especially fell in love with two.

First off, I love Alec Lightwood. The person that Alec Lightwood is…unsure and scared, afraid to be the person that he is, afraid to share the emotions buried deep within him…it all felt so familiar. He felt like the most real character in the books. I know people didn’t like him at first, because of the way he treated Clary, and the obsession he had with Jace but I thought he was real and raw and genuine. His story reached out to me and watching him grow and change over the course of six books.

And then there was Jace Wayland Morgenstern Herondale Lightwood, whatever you want to call him. I don’t know if I would have fallen in love with as much as I did as a fictional boyfriend and a fictional character if I wasn’t in the middle of a breakup with my boyfriend. But I loved everything about him. I loved that he was this badass warrior, and that he was raised to not believe in love and Clary was changing that in him, and that he said the sweetest things and that was also kind of crazy. Come on, let’s think about…going into Hunter’s Moon and picking fights with werewolves? That’s kind of crazy. He’s been one of my absolute favorite characters since then, and definitely my number one fictional crush.

But he was also kind of my escape, from the misery that I was feeling at the time. It made me think that boys could say still say cute things, even when they mess up, and I lost myself in the romance of Jace and Clary. It kept me sane. I devoured those books and they kept me from wallowing in even more misery that I already was. I wouldn’t say they saved my life, because I had never considered that my life was over, but they saved my emotions, my sanity, my well-being. I was a wreck and these books helped to put me back together.

And they still do that.

When I’m having a really bad time, a tough time, there are two book series that I turn to: Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments. They both can make me feel better even on the darkest of days. Even when I feel the worst.

But the books did more than just be books that will sit on my shelves forever, and stories that I’ll dive into again and again. They inspire me to be a better write, they inspire me to write beautiful books. I want to write books that have characters that are loved like these, and have stories that are addicting and stories that make people cry the way I cried while reading City of Heavenly Fire. I am inspired every day by Cassandra Clare.

She also taught me so much about fear, about accepting your fears, in order to overcome them. This is a huge part of the first trilogy in this series. Clary’s fear of fitting into the Shadowhunter world. Isabelle’s fear of love. Jace’s fear of letting anyone. Valentine’s fear (and jealousy) of the Downworlders. Jocelyn’s fear for Clary’s safety. Alec’s fear for being himself. Simon’s fear of being left behind. SO much fear, but by the time we reach the end of City of Glass, they have either accepted those fears, are working on them or have conquered them. She shows us that we don’t need a Fearless rune to do this but that courage and bravery come from inside of us, to overcome those things that make us so afraid. This is why I have a fearless rune tattoo, to remind myself that I can strong enough and brave enough to over come anything.

They have also brought me into a world I never expected. I had been blogging for nearly a year when I met Cassandra Clare for the second time. I was able to interview her (you can check out that video here), and it opened a lot of doors for me as a blogger. Then I met her about three weeks later, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and put together a Shadowhunter meet-up, where I met some new friends, most importantly, my fangirl bestie, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels.

Not only did her books bring me to some amazing friends BUT they in turn introduced me to a world bigger than the one I had known. I showed them the beauty of all the book events and they introduced me to movie premieres. Without that meetup, and meeting all those friends, I would have never even thought to go to premieres like City of Bones, Catching Fire, Vampire Academy and Divergent. These books have given me a community of friends all over the world. I’ve been messaging online and texting on my phone nonstop for the last 48+ hours about the release of City of Heavenly Fire, and I love this community and what it has given to me, and what I hope I have given back. I have met so many amazing friends because of it.

So some people think I’m crazy and some people probably look at me and think “its just a book”. But its so much more than that, so much more. I loved the finale of the series, though I admit I did have some beef with the ending, but whatever I feel for this book, it is so sad and bittersweet to see it end. I know that we will continue into the lives of Lucie and James Herondale in The Last Hours and the lives of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn in The Dark Artifices. I know that we have not yet left the Shadowhunter world but leaving behind the world of Clary, Jace, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, Simon, Jocelyn, Luke, Maia, Jordan, and so many many more is heartbreaking. I will miss them and their romances and their antics and their adventures. Its hard to say good bye because of how much this series meant to me.

Check out some pictures from my TMI adventures over the last couple years, including meeting Cassie, the cast of the movie, the red carpet premiere of the movie, hanging out with TMI friends, and my tattoo.

And don’t forget to share what The Mortal Instruments mean to you in the comments! 

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My Reserved Seat when I met Cassie at her Clockwork Princess Launch in Mission Viejo and I interviewed her!
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March 2013: Myself and Cassandra Clare after I interviewed her. Im pretty sure I’m dying inside right now…
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Meeting Cassandra Clare in April 2013, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. You can see her husband Josh on the right, and Vivi Hebel, the brains behind Hebel Design, on the right
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Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson, March 2013, at the Mission Viejo event
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A really bad picture of me and my sister in front of Cassie’s epic tour bus after the Mission Viejo event. There were NO lights in the parking lot so this is how the pictures kept turning out haha
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The Shadowhunter Meet Up at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in 2013. I met SO many amazing friends here.
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Myself and Jamie Campbell Bower aka Jace Wayland at the City of Bones World Premiere
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Myself and Godfrey Gao (and my photobombing friend Jane haha) aka Magnus Bane and my Magnus Bane doll at the TMI World Premiere
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My sister and I at the Clockwork Princess Mission Viejo event. I was so nervous before interviewing Cassie that I just kept taking pictures
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Myself and Cassie Clare at the TMI City of Bones World Premiere
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Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels, Harald Zwart (Director of City of Bones), myself and our friend Jane, camping out for the TMI City of Bones World Premiere
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Me and the beautiful Aidan Turner, aka Luke Garroway, at the TMI City of Bones World Premiere
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Kevin Zegers, aka Alec Lightwood, came by in the morning and brought cookies to all of us that had camped overnight. It was a beautiful moment and a beautiful way to wake up
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Meeting Jamie, Cassie, Lily and Kevin at WonderCon 2013. I won a VIP meet and greet with them, got a book and poster signed by them and got to take pictures :)
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Myself and Cassie Clare at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in 2013. I look less like I’m freaking out in this picture…
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Jamie Campbell Bower, Robbie Sheehan, Kevin Zegers and Cassandra Clare at the Los Angeles TMI Mall Tour Stop
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A photographer asked me and Harald Zwart to pose as if he was drawing my tattoo on, and then he signed underneath. Such a weird but cool moment
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My signed copy of City of Bones from the TMI World Premiere signed by…well a lot of people
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Me and Robbie Sheehan, aka Simon Lewis, at the TMI City of Bones World Premiere
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Meeting the lovely ladies behind TMI Venezuela and TMI Colombia while waiting for the TMI Mall Tour in LA to start!
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Me and my fangirl bestie, my parabatai, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels at the TMI City of Bones Mall Tour
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Me and my friends Alex, Mina, Stephanie, Jade, Cassandra, Ally and Sylvia, all friends I’ve made through TMI, waiting for Jamie CB to perform on Venice Boardwalk
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Sylvia and I showing Carmen (HomeOfNephilim) the awesome Santa Monica Pier. TMI brought us all together :)
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My fearless rune tattoo, that I got back in November of 2012

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Fictional Crush of the Week-Isabelle Lightwood from the Mortal Instruments

Character Name:

Isabelle Lightwood

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Book or Series They Appear In:

The Mortal Instruments Series

City of Bones, prostate City of Ashes, more about City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire 

Author/Creator:

Cassandra Clare

Played By: 

Jemima West

Who They Are:

Isabelle Lightwood is one of the main characters of the Mortal Instruments series. She starts off as a sort of secondary character and she becomes more important as the series goes on. She’s the younger sister of Alec, and the older sister of Max, and the sometimes love interest of Simon Lewis. She has long black hair, dark hair, and she’s beautiful and fierce. She has a great and fun sense of humor, and is a great fighter. She sometimes comes off as someone who may not be as serious because of her sense of humor and her fashion sense but she is a wicked fighter, and she is incredibly loyal to her family and her friends. She is an amazing Shadowhunter.

Why I Am Crushing On Them: 

I absolutely ADORE Isabelle. At first, Clary can be a little annoying. I definitely change my mind on this because Clary will appear eventually on this feature! But Isabelle, from the beginning, was my type of girl. She’s dark haired for one thing, and she just has a charming, sexy personality from the beginning. I like that she has that sense of humor, but she knows when to be serious, and when to act like a warrior. And she’s a badass warrior. She has the best weapon of all with the whip, seriously. I can’t even handle that weapon. Its awesome, and its sexy, and it probably takes a lot of skill and training for it to be an effective weapon. And I love that’s careful, and cautious and she’s so incredibly smart. Sometimes people think Isabelle is just looks, but she’s a fighter and she’s an incredibly clever person. I’ve loved watching her evolve over the series.

Plus have you seen Jemima West? She’s is SO beautiful, and I am major crushing on her. I was very sad when she couldn’t make it to the Los Angeles premiere of the movie :( I was hoping to meet her SO badly.

Notable Quotes: 

Isabelle shrugged philosophically. “I’m pure at heart. It repels the dirt.”

“But I watch my brothers give their hearts away and I think, Don’t you know better? Hearts are breakable. And I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.”

“What’s the point in wasting a perfectly good brick wall when you have someone to throw against it, that’s what I always say.”

“Isabelle chewed thoughtfully on her straw. “That new lead singer they have is hot. Is he single? I’d like to ride him around town like a bad, bad pony-” 

“Nothing less than seven inches! That’s my motto!”

izzy

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Exclusive Interview with Jewelry Designer Viviane Hebel!

Its not hard to be part of the fan girl world, prescription and not run into the awesome and talented, Viviane Hebel.

Vivi Hebel runs her own business, Hebel Design, which specializes in handcrafted jewelry based on your favorite novel series like the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, the Curse Workers and Faerie stories by Holly Black, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and SO many more.

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The first I heard of Vivi and Hebel Design is when I met Cassandra Clare back in March, and interviewed. As a gift, Cassie gave me a clockwork angel necklace, that I wear SO often. Almost exactly a month later, I met Vivi at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books when she pointed out that I was wearing her necklace. I’ve been addicted to her stuff ever since. Her family rings, rune bookmarks, and jewelry for all books are just TOO beautiful.

She’s also been featured in Huffington Post, Epic Reads, The Examiner and more!

So, of course, I had to try and get her on this blog, with an interview and I’m really excited to bring her to you guys today!

Sara: How did you get into jewelry making and jewelry design? What sort of skills did you have to learn? 

Viviane: I went to college for integral design-graphic, textile and industrial. So I had my base in materials and methods. I’ve always been more interested in 3D than 2D work so it was more of an evolution for me. Some 10 years ago, I took classes in silversmithing and so it began.

Sara: How did you get involved with all these authors like Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Anna Banks, Jessica Brody, etc? 

Viviane: I read Cassandra Clare’s 3 first books from TMI, what was published so far, and fell in love with the world and the Runes. I had some kind of vision and did some research before I contacted her to present my idea. There’s always been a market for movie props and replicas so I thought fans of the books would like them too. It’s been an evolving thing since then I thought of expanding to other series. So the process is the same, contacting the author and proposing my ideas. Since I’ve been in business for a bit, sometimes authors come to me with their ideas.

Sara: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you read the books to design these pieces, or do the authors ask for something specific? 

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Viviane: I always like to read the book first, to get the whole context. Whenever there’s a new book in the series that is not available to read yet I have to rely on author’s descriptions. Then I try to get details of when, where, why, who…and so on.

Sara: What is your favorite part about having this business? 

Viviane: Being able to create an actual piece that an author just conjured in her head. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to go from imagination to reality, I like those the most.

Sara: Was having a jewelry making business always something you had wanted to do, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Viviane: As I said, its been an evolution as a designer. I like looking for new things to do. Jewelry has been the longest one so far, so many possibilities.

Sara: What is the process like when making a piece for your business? 

Viviane: First, I need to visualize how it would look more or less, then sketches and possible materials. Making samples and prototypes, sometimes it stops there, sometimes production of molds and such.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books to read, movies to watch and bands to listen to?

Viviane: The list is super long. I am a big fan of fantasy, paranormal and science fiction. In movies too, I like animated movies a lot! I just love their attention to detail. Music is very eclectic, if you looked at my playlist, it has all kinds of old and new, from pop to rock to latin, country, new age. All time favorites that I never get tired of are James Taylor and Prince…Goo Goo Dolls, see a pattern here? Not really.

Sara: What are some of your favorite book-related pieces that you have designed? 

Viviane: The ones that have been more of a challenge. The Clockwork Angel, the Morozova Collar, the Family rings. The Midnight Flower just came up in my head and it actually came out like I imagined. Not always it happens like that. I also like when I can reproduce exactly what’s described in a book, like the turquoise necklace. I love the new Lynburn hands.

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Sara: Do you have any pieces, or new collaborating authors that we can look forward to? 

Viviane: There’s always new stuff in the works…just to keep the interest up!

Sara: I ask this to all my interviewees, who is your fictional crush? 

Viviane: You’re allowed to have more than one, right? Rhett Butler, as a classic, growing up. Will Herondale tops this list, but there’s so many more, I could actually embarrass myself.

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I hope you enjoyed this interview with Viviane, and that you are able to head to her website, and check out her awesome work. I seriously want EVERYTHING, especially a stele pen and the Lightwood family ring. Her stuff is awesome.

All pictures are courtesy of HebelDesign.com

Fandom Friday-The Big Bang Theory

Hey everyone! Welcome to the second week of my new segment, pharm the Fandom Friday!

Basically what the Fandom Friday is (for those of you who missed out last week’s), sildenafil its a weekly feature on a different fandom. It came from the fact that…one, I want to understand fandoms that I’m not familiar with or don’t understand or don’t like and two, I just don’t know as many fandoms as I think I do.

So the Fandom Friday was born. Last week, I did the debut post, on the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare.

This week, my dear friend, Jackie, a.k.a. Bazingirl over at Seeking Bazinga, did a post on The Big Bang Theory, a fandom that I’ve never really been able to get into. Now, we have this lovely post below to tell us allllllll about it.

I hope you enjoy it!

And if you’re interested in writing a post for the Fandom Friday, leave a comment below, or leave a message for me on the Facebook page, or email me at whatanerdgirlsays@gmail.com. I want more of the posts for Fandom Friday to be written by YOU guys, and less by me :) that’s what the rest of the blog is for!

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I was asked by my dear friend Sara to write an article about fandom.  I’m a member of many fandoms and I decided to write about my current favorite TV show, The Big Bang Theory.  For those of you who don’t follow the show, it’s a half hour sitcom that follows the lives of Sheldon Cooper (played by Emmy award winning Jim Parsons), a particle physicist working on string theory and his roommate Leonard Hofstadter (played by the brilliant Johnny Galecki), a theoretical who  work at CalTech University in Pasadena, California and the shenanigans that follow when a beautiful would be actress, Penny (played by the lovely Kaley Cuoco) moves in across the hall from them.  Helping out with the hilarity of the show are Sheldon and Leonard’s best friends who also work at CalTech, astrophysicist, Rajesh Koothrapali (played by Kunaal Nayar) and oft mocked engineer from MIT Howard Wolowitz (played by Simon Helberg).  Boiled down to it’s essence, The Big Bang Theory is about a geek who falls for a gorgeous girl, and spends his time trying to win her heart.

When the show first came out, my sister in law told me I absolutely had to watch this show because it would appeal to the geek in me.  I said I’d check it out, but I never did.  It was not until I started dating a guy who had the first three seasons on DVD that I started watching.  I was  totally Miss Tardy to the Party in this one.  But thank goodness he sat me down and made me watch the first disc.  After that, I was completely HOOKED.  Every time I went to his place, I asked, sometimes begged to watch more Big Bang.  Luckily, he loved it so much it was never an issue.

I completely fell in love with Sheldon, whose brilliance is proportionately unequal to his social skills and understanding of the world around him.  He’s brilliant.  He’s got an I.Q. That he says is so high it isn’t measurable by the standard I.Q. Tests.  As someone who has a brother who when tested as a young child rated at just under Super Genius on the I;Q; scale, I understood a lot of Sheldon’s quirks and his lack of social skills.  He may understand “everything” in the universe because of his knowledge of physics, but he can’t understand joking or sarcasm let alone basic human interactions.  I know that some people who really enjoy the show find Sheldon irritating or annoying, but with all his childlike qualities and his complete cluelessness, I find him utterly endearing.

I also love his relationship with Penny.  Penny is a homespun, Nebraska native who left Omaha to head to Hollywood and become a movie star.  And if that didn’t work, she’d become a T.V. Star.  Her reality is that she works as a waitress for The Cheesecake Factory while she tries desperately to fulfill her dreams of stardom.  Sheldon and Penny do not really get along at first, and he curses the day that Leonard said hello to her, thereby initiating a neighborly relationship with her. Sheldon constantly insults her for not having had a basic college education, and she constantly teases him with sarcasm and disdain for not understanding pop culture or human interactions.  But over the years, sheldon and Penny reach a kind of amazing friendship, wherein they do actually love each other in their own odd ways.

Sheldon found it difficult to incorporate Penny into his circle of friends because she’s not a scientist nor is she that educated, but because Leonard fell head over heels in love with her, Sheldon tolerated her presence in their lives.

Leonard, is actually the main character of the story, and he is pretty much the most adept at socialization of all of the nerds in the show.  He’s sarcastic and witty as well as smart.  He is also a gem of a human being for putting up with Sheldon as his roommate.  The series is truly based on Leonard’s relationship with Penny and how he tries to date her. He does go through a few other relationships during the course of the the series but his heart really and truly always belongs to Penny.  And while Penny, as I said before, is not an educated woman, she is incredibly street smart and has the potential to be as educated as he wants to be.

The draw of The Big Bang Theory is the humor.  I’m not much of a sitcom fan, I never have been.  Well, except back in the day with the Cosby Show and Family Ties when I was a kid.  But the recent sitcoms leave me bored.  Except for the Big Bang Theory.  Now, don’t be intimidated by the science they are constantly spewing.  I’m not anywhere CLOSE to being a physicist, but even a layperson can laugh at Leonard and Sheldon discussing physics and arguing about how much they over think things.  Then you add the “comic relief” of Raj who can’t speak to women, but who has a sharp wit when he’s hanging out with the guys.  And then you have Howard, the Jewish engineer who doesn’t have a PhD and who is constantly trying to hit on Penny in a slightly sleazy/creepy way.  The jokes boarder on risque but they never go over the line and the writers are truly brilliant when it comes to the witty sarcastic humor.

Now, if the first couple of episodes don’t tickle your funny bone, give it a few more.  By the end of season 1, you will be completely hooked.  I can almost guarantee it.  Especially if you have any geek or nerd tendencies.

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Hope you enjoyed this week of the Fandom Friday! Stay tuned for some new posts coming soon!

And don’t forget to write your own Fandom Friday and send it my way!

Lastly, don’t forget to follow Jackie on Twitter (@bazinGEEKgirl) and on her blog, Seeking Bazinga!

Fandom Friday-The Shadowhunter Chronicles

So I’ve decided to start a new segment of my blog called the Fandom Friday

This basically comes from my desire to find more fandoms…and this doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m trying to fill my life with more fandoms but I’m trying to be more open to other ones.

The biggest reason I’m doing this is because I’ve always felt like…so many fandoms preach acceptance and tolerance and equality and respect and all that. And yet…I’ve found that a lot of us nerds can be kind of judgemental on other fandoms, sick myself included. I mean, some people are REALLY judgemental and mean about it, sometimes.

And I’m trying to be better at it. And I’ve decided I want to learn more about different fandoms and kind of have people…backing up the fandom? That doesn’t sound quite right. I guess I just want people to write of the fandoms that they like and say why they like them, and what they mean to them, and maybe we can all start to understand each other.

Hey, I’m not saying that you have to like the fandoms. There are some things that we’re just not going to like. But I’m hoping that we all learn about some new ones, understand the ones we don’t like and finally figure out the ones that we don’t really understand.

So the first one is my own. I’m looking for anyone and everyone who would like to contribute to this. You can do any fandom that you’d like, except Harry Potter, Stars Wars and Doctor Who…ONLY because these are my three biggest fandoms and they are also really, really popular and I write about all three of these all the time. Any others though, free game, and leave a little comment below (make sure to click “email me for replies”) and we’ll get this going!

So this week’s first Fandom Friday is The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. And I know its Sunday but its been a busy weekend and we’ll just forget the days of the week just this once okay?

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Now, the reason that I pick the Shadowhunter Chronicles as my first fandom of the week, instead of Harry Potter or Star Wars or Doctor Who is that I have almost never had to really defend my obsession with these. These are VERY popular fandoms and very highly accepted fandoms and some people may shake their head at HOW obsessed I am, but I never really have to defend it as a whole.

The Shadowhunter series…those I am always, always, always defending. They are honestly a big reason why I’m trying to be more accepting of other fandoms, even the ones that I just think are plain awful. Then I realized…a lot of people have a problem with Cassie and her books. It goes both ways.

Officially right now, there are 8 Shadowhunter books in two different series. The Mortal Instruments takes place in present time and is as follow: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and the 2014 finale, City of Heavenly Fire. The Infernal Devices is a companion series, taking place in Victorian England. This series is complete: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess. Cassandra has three more series planned: The Dark Artifices, (Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows and The Queen of Air and Darkness) which is a Los Angeles series taking place five years after the finale of the Mortal Instruments, TLH, which is acronymed and not named and will be following the children of the Infernal Devices series and a completely secret series, that will take place three years after the Dark Artifices series.

The books are an urban, contemporary fantasy. Its a world that we all recognize and know, but there’s more to it than we know. Demons roam our world, along with vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fae. And there are those that would protect the world from those demons, called Shadowhunters, humans with a dash of angel blood, warriors trained their entire lives to fight these demons. They have their own secret world, can shield themselves from us and have their own secret country, Idris. They use special weapons like seraph blades, blessed by angels to defeat demons, and use steles to draw “Marks” or “runes” on their body to give them extra or enhanced abilities in battle.

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The Mortal Instruments takes place in countemporary world, with Clary Fray, a sixteen year old girl who suddenly can see people and things she wasn’t able to see before. She stumbles upon some Shadowhunters while they are on the hunt, when she shouldn’t be able to see them. Shortly after, her mother is kidnapped and it is revealed that her mother is a Shadowhunter and once was married to a man named Valentine, who has a desire to “purify” the race of Shadowhunters and begin a superior order. Clary has to find her mother, and help to defeat Valentine, along with the help of her human best friend, Simon Lewis, the warlock, Magnus Bane, and her new Shadowhunter friends, Jace Wayland, Alec Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood. The first book in the series, City of Bones, will be hitting theaters this summer, on August 23rd.

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The Infernal Devices takes place in Victorian England at near end of the 19th century. Tessa Gray, again, is a human girl, who leaves New York to join her brother, Nate in England. She is kidnapped as soon as she reaches the dock, and soon learns that she has abilities she was never aware of: shape-shifting. As long as she’s holding the personal item of a person, she can change into them, and access their memories. According to her kidnappers, she’s being prepped to become the wife of a man called the Magister, who has a use for her and her talents. She is rescued by the Shadowhunter boys, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs and, just like Clary, is suddenly aware of a world that she wasn’t before. Her story  shows her trying to figure out what she is and why the Magister wants her, and what he has planned for her and the Shadowhunters.

I first discovered these books three years ago, in 2010. To keep a story short, my boyfriend and I had broken up, and lets just say it wasn’t a nice break up. It was kind of a messy one and a lot was going on at the time. My boyfriend and I had gone through a tough time, and broke up due to that, and a couple other reasons. I was feeling crappy at my job. I was taking five classes in college and was overwhelmed. Everything was just kind of down in the dumps and I was absolutely miserable. It SUCKS to break up with someone that you had plans for in the future. Of course, it all worked out, in the long run because we ended up back together and have been together for five years :)

But at the time, I just needed to be distracted. I didn’t want to think about all the crap that was going on; I needed distractions. I discovered Starkid during this time, and became super addicted to their Harry Potter musicals because of how much they made me laugh. And I found Cassandra Clare. I went to Borders to pick up a book, and I found City of Bones. I read it that night, and picked up City of Ashes the very next day, and picked up City of Glass the day after. Then I read Clockwork Angel. I got addicted FAST.

Now, a big part of the reason that I was addicted so fast, and that it remains one of my biggest fandoms, is because of what it did for me at that time. It really helped me. I needed to be distracted and it did just that. It kept me from being absolutely miserable. The stories are super funny, especially with Simon and Jace and their sarcasm. The pop culture references are always awesome, makes me think of Boss Joss Whedon and his pop culture references in everything that he does. Its action packed, and it has a lot of biblical and mythological aspects (though I do think she could go further with these). The world she builts is sexy and addicting and she spins a romance that I’m in love with. And Jace Wayland is a character that you just can’t get over, especially when you’re single and lonely haha.

But its also more than that. Despite what a lot of people say, I think Cassandra Clare is a great writer. I think she’s very contemporary and that’s the way I write. Not all of us are going to write like Jane Austen or whatever. Not all of us can write classically but that doesn’t mean we aren’t great writers and I think she’s a great writer. I also don’t think that she’s “stolen” all the things people believe she has. I believe she used a lot of it in her fan fiction but that was her fan fiction and let’s move on. And yes, there are allusions to different worlds from different books, but doesn’t everyone do that? There are no 100% original stories anymore. We all tell the same stories, but HOW we tell it, and the characters we have, in the places we have…that’s what makes our stories unique. Cassandra Clare pulled from J.K. Rowling who pulled from J.R.R. Tolkien who pulled from Norse mythology which…and on and on.

But sometimes, we just enjoy things that aren’t literary masterpieces. Not every book I read is going to be an excellent example of literary prowess. Sometimes I just want my not so guilty pleasure book. I enjoy these books. I love the stories and I love the characters and they’re good for me.

And I do like the ideas that Cassie brings in. She talks about fears a lot. She talks about bravery and courage and the idea of fears. Clary is afraid of loving Jace, she’s afraid of her father, she’s afraid of a lot of things. Jace is afraid of letting himself love and be loved, both in family and romantic ways and he’s afraid of Clary. Isabelle is afraid to let her tough girl guard down. Simon is afraid of losing his best friend. Luke and Jocelyn are afraid for Clary‘s safety and what Valentine is capable of. Alec is afraid of his sexuality and coming to terms with it. Valentine is afraid of not having control. And a lot of times these fears hold them back, and cause more problems than anything.

And she doesn’t preach of just overcoming your fears, but learning to accept them and learning to live with them. This is a huge reason why I have the Fearless rune tattoo on my arm. I really agree with the way she approaches fear, and courage and bravery, and overcoming and accepting fears. These people aren’t fearless, no one can be fearless but you can learn to live with your fears.

One last thing, I do like that Cassie has included gay, bisexual and lesbian characters. Alec is gay, and Magnus is bisexual and Aline and Helen are lesbian. I really like how a familiar concept can be presented in an unfamiliar territory. I do love that more and more authors are exploring these in books, not just in subtext but in more obvious ways. I love that even though Cassie gets letters from parents complaining about the LGBT characters, she continues to write about them. Its fantastic.

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So maybe you’ll never be a huge Cassandra Clare fan, or even a fan at all. But maybe you can understand and respect my own obsession with it, the way I am starting to respect YOURS!

And don’t forget, I am looking for some guest blog posts from ANYONE on their fandoms! Comment below, with what fandom you’d like to write about. It can be anything: movie, tv show, book series, video game, card game, cartoon, whatever. I want to learn ALL about it. Comment below and I’ll be able to contact you and you can be part of the Fandom Friday :)

Can’t wait!

Book of the Week: Clockwork Princess

Its been a really good month to be a Cassandra Clare fan, there especially in my boat.

First, recipe we had the release of the much anticipated final chapter in the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Princess, which incidentally this blog post is about.

Then Cassie went on a CP2 tour, mostly West Coast dates, one of which includes this weekend’s WonderCon, where she will appear with Lily Collins (Clary Fray), Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace Wayland) and Kevin Zegers (Alec Lightwood) and the first official theatrical trailer appears. The trailer is slated to premiere on Monday for those who are unable to catch it at WonderCon, though there isn’t really an exact time.

Also, this last weekend, Cassandra Clare talked about the plans she has for the future when it comes to the Shadowhunter chronicles. As of right now, we have our Infernal Devices, which takes place during the late 1870s, and it is finished. The Mortal Instruments takes place in the more recent years, 2007 to 2009ish? The next series to be written is the Dark Artifices, which will follow the story of Emma Carstairs in Los Angeles, about five years after the events that take place in the last Mortal Instruments book, City of Heavenly Fire.

Well, she’s revealed that there will be TWO more Shadowhunter trilogies. The first one will take place in 1903, with the children of the Infernal Devices series as the protaganists. Clare has give us the acronym for the series, TLH, but that is as far as its gotten. There’s an outline to the series, the characters are going to be in the 16 to 17 years old range and we don’t really know when they will be released.

Also, there’s an additional fifth series that will eventually come out. It has no title, no name, NOTHING. We know that it will take place three years after the ending of the Dark Artifices series but that’s about it.

So its been a good week to be a Shadowhunter (I’ve always wondered what fans of Cassie were called and she said last Friday that she thinks of us as Shadowhunters, so there we go), and since I’ve read Clockwork Princess THREE times since it’s come out, I’m ready to discuss it in my blog

So this week’s book of the week:

Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead. Don’t read if you haven’t read this book yet, I’d hate to have to ruin it for you.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 

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Genre:
young adult, fantasy, steampunk, historical, romance

Part of a Series?:
The third and last installment of the Infernal Devices trilogy

You May Like if You Like: 
The Mortal Instruments series, Tithe by Holly Black, The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

Plot Summary:

Its all been sort of leading up to this last installment. Tessa Gray is still struggling to figure out who she is, or better yet, what she is. It has been hinted that she definitely has part demon in her, though her brother claimed in Prince that she was half Shadowhunter. Tessa is engaged to Jem Carstairs, but is also in love with his parabatai, William Herondale, and of course, they both love her back. Charlotte, the head of the London Institute and sort of mother to all these people, is pregnant. Cecily Herondale, Will’s sister that he hasn’t seen in YEARS, has appeared on the doorstep of the Institute, ready to train as a Shadowhunter. The evil Magister is preparing for his revenge. The Lightwood boys, Gabriel and GIdeon, are suddenly helping out the Insitute, especially after we learned their father had demon pox. Everything comes to a catalyst here: the love triangles, the mysteries, the relationships that could be, Jem’s sickness, and everything gets solved, in good and bad ways.

The Bad:

I had something for the bad part. I did. But after I read the book a second time, and then again, for the third time, I really realized that it isn’t bad, and I really understand what happened, and why she did it.

I would say I thought it was a little bit cheesy that everyone kind of ended up together: Cecily and Gabriel, Henry and Charlotte, Gideon and Sophie, it was all pretty and wrapped up with a bow haha but I honestly didn’t mind it that much.

But I had an issue, at first, with the way Cassandra wrapped up the Tessa-Jem-Will triangle. Jem decides to become a Silent Brother, to avoid dying from his sickness. This prevents him from being able to marry so he breaks off his engagement to Tessa. Tessa and Will end up together, they eventually get married, have children and grandchildren. Of course, Tessa is immortal (and confirmed to be half-demon and half-Shadowhunter) so she outlives Will, and they talk about his death and its horrible and heartbreaking.

When Jem becomes a Silent Brother, he makes a pact with Tessa, to meet her once a year on Blackfriar’s Bridge, so that they can see each other, if only for a short while. The epilogue takes place in Tessa’s mind, where she explains her life with Will, and his death, while waiting to meet Jem, as Brother Zachariah, in 2008. When they go to meet up though, Jem is normal again, more normal than he was before, his original coloring coming back. Tessa and Jem end the book, finding their way together. I had a HUGE issue with it. Whether I’m Team Will or Team Jem, I didn’t think it was right that Tessa got both of them. It seemed too much a cookie cutter ending, an ending to please the fans. However, after reading it twice more, I really get it and I will now discuss it in the “good” section.

The Good:

Tessa marries William Herondale, they get to live together and have children together, all the way until Will’s old age in 1937, and then Tessa and Jem find their way back to each other in 2008. I really didn’t like this at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I broke it down, the more I really understood and the more I liked AND the more I realized that…its one of the most realistic endings I’ve ever read.

Let’s face it, we don’t love one person in our lifetime and its rare if we do. And its okay if we love more than one person in our lifetime. We lose people, we move on, we fall in and out of love. This is normal. We have different degrees of love, we have the same degrees of love but we love in different ways.

Tessa loved both Will and Jem, in equal but different ways. She was able to love Will, spend his life with him, have children and travel and do wonderful things with him. She experienced so much with him, including the journey that she took to find out who she is. She also took this journey with Jem, and she truly loved and cared about Jem. Seventy years after the death of her husband, Jem is able to live again. Now, at first I thought that was a little too good to be true but its been over a century since he became a Silent Brother and I believe that a cure for his affliction could be discovered. And it only makes logical sense that they’d find their way back to each other.

This was hard for me to understand and accept at first, but I did realize it, and I love that Cassie made that point. Most authors make the point, in a love triangle, that the girl (or boy, in rare cases) has to make a choice but Cassie makes the point that…there isn’t a choice. Sure, in real life, we can’t make someone wait while we love someone else but we are able to love more than one person in their lifetime. The circumstances in this book are obviously different because of immortality and all that. But she makes a great point, a point I haven’t seen made in a book in a long time, and I really enjoyed it. The last time I saw something like this was in the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce.

I love that Cecily Herondale is able to come into Will’s life. Now that Will is aware his curse isn’t real, and he can love freely, its still really hard for him to show it and I think Cecily coming in really helps him to become the person that he truly is and that is has been hiding for all these years. I love that Cecily also has an effect on Gabriel Lightwood, who still has a loyalty to his father, despite what his father has done that is against Shadowhunter law. I love that she comes to the Institute to bring Will back home but she stays because she loves training to be a Shadowhunter.

The ending of the Will and Jem friendship was absolutely heartbreaking. They had a wonderful friendship, a brotherhood. They were parabatai, a pair of warriors linked together for life and that makes them closer than blood. This is the first time that we see parabatai separated. We know that Luke and Valentine were separated in TMI but we don’t get it. We obviously don’t get it in the parabatai relationship of Jace and Alec. When Jem becomes a Silent Brother, and the way it effects Will…its just heartbreaking. The end of a friendship is one of the hardest things to deal with it, even worse than losing a relationship and it hurt that Jem and Will did not get to grow old together.

I also liked the way the story ended with the Magister. We find out that Tessa is half demon and half Shadowhunter, and that she was created for a purpose, to become the Magister’s father, in her shape shifting abilities, to find out how to harness demons into the clockwork army that the Magister has created. He does this and creates an almost impossible army to beat. The fact that an angel, angel Ithuriel (from City of Glass, yes), has been protecting her in her clockwork angel necklace her entire life was surprising and awesome, and the fact that she used the angel to defeat the Magister, was also surprising and awesome.

Oher awesome things: Charlotte having her baby, and becoming the Consul for the Shadowhunters, Sophie Collins Ascending and becoming a Shadowhunter, Magnus Bane just being badass, and loving and caring, and a friend to Tessa through all the years, Jessamine kind of redeeming herself from Prince.

Rating:

Five out of five Stars. Easily. Great ending to the trilogy and worth the wait.

Recommended or Not?: 

Yes. Definitely. Easily. Obviously you should read the Clockwork Angel and Prince first but I recommend it. Its a great book and a great ending to the series. Secrets are revealed, questions are answered. We find out the secret of the Clockwork Angel, and that Will Herondale really does have a tattoo (ON HIS BUTT!). We find out how the Herondales get their little star scars, that Jace Herondale and the rest of them all have. Its a great ending, worth the wait, and a book that I will always remember.

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Don’t forget! You have until April 1st to enter to win an autographed copy of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

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I met Cassie a week ago, and had her sign my extra copy of Clockwork Princess for the fans! Its free to enter and you can enter here! Good luck!

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What did you think of Clockwork Princess? As always, share below in the comments!