Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Shapeshifters

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by the lovely Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.

Here’s today’s topic:

October 18th: Books Featuring [paranormal creature of your choice]
–Here is the previously mentioned paranormal creature topic. This topic will revolve around one type of paranormal creature of your choice. So books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, demons, fae, zombies, etc.

This seems like a fun topic so let’s jump right into it! In no particular order:

5. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews


This series has so many paranormal, mythical, magical beings in it, it’s like seriously a free-for-all when it comes down to it. But the shapeshifters I was thinking of were the werecats and other people who can shift into different animals, like Curran who can transform into a lion. It’s a really good adult urban fantasy series so far so I definitely recommend it.

4. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare


Now I know there are shapeshifters in some of these books. I just can’t remember which books and characters haha! But either way, this series has a lot of different magical creatures so take your pick.

3. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas


There’s one character whom I really like that’s a shapeshifter and she kicks ass! She’s very fierce and I love how she really embraces her nature in later books.

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


Okay, I’m really only talking about Wolf here, but he’s still a shapeshifter sorta kinda, okay? Plus he’s awesome, so there’s that, too.

1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


I remember there being one instance of a shapeshifter so far, but there are SO many mysteries in this series and I think there could be a lot more surprises ahead.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What books do you recommend with shapeshifters in them? What are some of your favorite and least favorite paranormal creatures?

Let’s Talk | Shadowhunters 1×01 – Pilot


Source: Shadowhunters TV

The first episode of Shadowhunters premiered on Tuesday, January 12, and since I don’t have cable I wasn’t able to watch it until tonight (mostly because I forgot episodes can play online, derp). It’s a whole new revamp for Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments series and I was highly anticipating it, as were many other people. I did see the seven minute preview when it first came out, and now that I watched the episode I wanted to talk a little bit about it.

So here are my thoughts and feels on season one episode one of the series:

The episode starts off with a little bit of a teaser as to the demons and the Shaowhunters, specifically Jace, Isabelle, and Alec. They’re hunting a demon that can change its appearance when it runs into another being and even though it changes its form about three times before entering Club Pandemonium, the Shadowhunters are still able to track it.

We get flashback scenes from eight hours before the time Jace runs into Clary, as well as ten years prior before everything started to become real in Clary’s world. I think that these parts were important to include because not only do we get a little bit of background into the characters, but we also get to see more about what is going on and why things are happening the way they are.

Now Clary just turned eighteen and so she wants to celebrate with her best friend, Simon, but her mom, Jocelyn, wants to talk to her about the Shadow World and the Downworlders and so much more, but Clary just wants to go have fun with her friend.

We get thrown around a bit as Jocelyn struggles to tell Clary what’s happening, about the fight with the demon and how Clary witnesses it, and how her mom sends her through a portal to Luke’s location and how Jocelyn is going to fight with some Circle members.

Confused yet? If you’re not a reader of the series, you probably have no idea what some of the terms I stated even mean. And I think that’s part of the reason why this first episode was a little bit of an info dump. They wanted you to understand the significance of the Mortal Cup, who the Shadowhunters are, why Clary can see them and others can’t, etc.

And I also think that was partially a downfall for the first episode. I honestly thought that the acting could have gone a little smoother, but it wasn’t that it was bad; it was cheesy during some parts, but also very witty in others.

I think that Dominic Sherwood, who plays Jace, did a good job of embodying Jace’s personality: strong, defensive, and a bit egotistical. He does ask a few questions in a way that Jace from the book would have asked them, which made me laugh out loud, literally. So while I appreciated his humor during those parts, other parts I felt that he was just trying too hard. Like dude, loosen up a little! Use some more emotion and stuff.

Katherine McNamara, who plays Clary, was actually my favorite person of the episode. I think that she’s doing a wonderful job playing Clary and that she really showed who she was: smart, loyal, and free. Of course, she was confused a lot of the episode given what was going on, but it was understandable.

Emeraude Toubia, who plays Isabelle, was also a convincing Isabelle: sexy, playful, sarcastic, a little pushy. She didn’t talk much in the episode, but I could see that she will do well to play this kickass heroine. She also has good chemistry with the actor who plays Alec.

Alberto Rosende, who plays Simon, was a good Simon: goofy, in love with Clary, and kind of a hot mess. And let’s all admit it: Simon was a hot mess at the beginning. But I’m sure that he’ll do a better job as the season progresses. He was in a few scenes, but I definitely want to see more.

Matthew Daddario, who plays Alec, was just like the book version of him: stoic, a great fighter, and a complainer. I think that he makes a great Alec and I’m interested in seeing his interactions with the group as the season continues, especially when it comes to Magnus.

Harry Shum Jr, who plays Magnus, did a good job embodying the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Though I was hoping for more scenes with him, he actually didn’t really make an appearance early on in the first book, so I was excited to see him at all in the first episode. But he did play an important role in the early part of Clary’s life, so it was good to see him in more than one scene. Also, he owns Club Pandemonium in the show, so that was a twist.

Isaiah Mustafa, who plays Luke, was actually kind of the cheesiest one of the bunch. Honestly, I was hoping for different lines or maybe different acting. Though I have confidence that he’ll definitely do better as the season progresses, I’m just not convinced yet that this is the Luke who I came to love. But again, it’s one episode, he might just surprise me.

Alan Van Sprang, who plays our villain Valentine, didn’t make much of an appearance, but I know from watching him in another series, Reign, that Van Sprang makes a great villain. And he’s already shown the ruthlessness of Valentine by killing off one of his men in this episode, so yay! A good baddie! I mean, a bad baddie, but a good actor… You know what I’m saying.

Maxin Roy, who plays Jocelyn, also did a good job of portraying Clary’s mom: fiercely protective, guilty of not sharing the secrets of the Shadow World with Clary, and a good fighter. Of course, we didn’t know of how good of her fighting abilities until later in the book series, but still it was cool to see her kick some butt.

Overall, I thought that the acting was okay at best, but it’s only the first episode and I think that some of these actors are relatively new to the spotlight, especially with one as big as the Mortal Instruments fanbase. I’d give the acting a 7/10 stars.

The CGI in the episode was decent, but not up to par with how I would have wanted to see it. Though, to be fair, it’s really hard to imagine a demon and what exactly it would do in a given situation, or even look like. Though the four mouth thing? Yeah, that’s got to stop. Give it some variety! Not every demon looks the same. I think that the effects on the eyes for Magnus were the coolest, as well as the warlock swirling blue magic, but otherwise it has yet to impress me. Also, not thrilled with the seraph blades, sorry. I’d give it a 5/10 stars for CGI.

As far as the storyline goes: yes, it follows the book, but not in a very streamline way. I mean, there are lots of elements from the first book that took place that were definitely shown, but there were a few things that were different, too. As with any show or movie, they will take liberties, but as far as adaptations go I’d give it a good 7.5/10 stars for adaptation.

Overall, I’m giving the first episode of the Shadowhunters series a 6.5/10 stars. I wasn’t totally in love, but there was still plenty there for me to want to see more because my inner fangirl is being fed as we speak. I only hope that it gets better from here, that the acting improves, and that the story doesn’t stray too far from the books.

Let’s Talk Shadowhunters

I meant to do a lot more posts than just this one and the first one I did, but oh well!

So we have the full cast of Shadowhunters, the TV show that’ll take place on ABC Family starting in 2016 of Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments series, and I couldn’t be more excited! We’ve had updates from the very beginning on who was being cast as who, photos of the shoots, fun photos by the cast, and so much more. They’re taking the fans into consideration during this whole process and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

Well, I could if the show started to air now, but that’s not going to happen.

Anyway, let’s talk about the rest of the cast!

Katherine McNamara as Clary Fray


Our main heroine was cast and I think she was definitely the biggest concern for a lot of fans. I’ve seen her act in the Disney Channel movie Girl vs Monster and I thought she did pretty well as a “villain” type, but I think she’ll be able to do so much better as a hero. She is a natural red head, but she was blond beforehand so she did have to have it dyed back, and I frankly think she really looks the part of Clary. We’ve seen photos from the set and from what I’ve seen so far she looks promising as our main girl.

Matthew Daddario as Alec Lightwood


Okay, I’m still getting used to him being Alec, and I’m sure he’ll do a good job, but there’s just something about him that doesn’t fit for me. BUT ANYWAY. I’ve seen some screenshots and a few scenes where we can hear him talk or act and I think he’ll make a good Alec: quiet, yet protective, and always trying to be the logical one. I haven’t seen anything he’s been in, but I’m still interested to see how he plays our underrated hero.

Isaiah Mustafa as Luke Garroway


I love that Luke is being played as a person of color. Seriously. This excites me. We don’t have many descriptions of what Luke actually looks like other than his scruffy beard and wild hair, so I mean, Mustafa has the beard part down! So it works! I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies he’s acted in, but I think he’s going to make a great Luke. From the pictures I’ve seen, he’s a big goofball, which fits.

Harry Shum Jr. as Magnus Bane


YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW EXCITED I AM FOR THIS. I’ve seen a bunch of the films and TV shows Shum has been in and OMG I CAN’T WAIT. He’s a great actor with a great set of moves, for one thing. Plus he obviously looks the part because Magnus is at least half-Asian. I’ve seen pictures of him as Magnus, with makeup and everything, and I think he’ll play a magnificent warlock.

Alan Van Sprang as Valentine Morgenstern


As I’ve seen him act in Reign, I know that he plays a good villain. He’s got the right look for one and I think that he’ll do Valentine justice for sure. Sure, he doesn’t have the same golden locks that Valentine has (or at least what I pictured him to have), but I do think he looks the part of a strong, slightly crazed, man who has made everyone’s life a living hell. Don’t you think?

Maxim Roy as Jocelyn Fray


Hey, it’s Clary’s mom! And let me tell you, the actresses are adorable together. Though she’ll be absent for most of the series, I’m sure, I think she still has a lot of potential and I’m interested to see how she acts on camera with Katherine, to see if they have chemistry as mother and daughter and whatnot.

And then we have a few other characters who were given actors including: Jon Cor as Hodge (as George Takei would say: oh myyy); David Castro as Raphael Santiago, the resident vampire; Kaitlyn Leeb as Camielle Belcourt, the very powerful, lovely vampire; and Jade Hassoune as Meliorn, the Seelie Queen’s loyal faerie knight.

I’m excited for this cast, and I love that the director, McG, always shares photos and updates with the fans because, well, what director does that?

From what I’ve seen so far the show looks promising and I really hope that all of this hype and whatnot doesn’t let the fans down.

Also, Entertainment Weekly dropped this article giving us AND EXCLUSIVE LOOK with more pictures into the show and OMG I DIED.

Are you excited for the show? What are your thoughts so far? Do you think they’ll do it justice or will it flop? Let me know your thoughts!

City of Fallen Angels Book Review


Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: Book #4 in The Mortal Instruments
Publisher: McElderry Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Genre: Young Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 424
Format: Purchased Paperback

Okay, so I was going to wait until I finished the next three books in the series before putting up this review, but I don’t want to wait that long, so here is my review for book four in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare: “City of Fallen Angels.”

As this is the fourth book, there will most likely be spoilers. I finished this in early May, so some of this might be fuzzy.

As this book was a continuation of about two weeks or so after the third book’s ending, we got to see more of Clary, Jace, and the gang on their next set of adventures. I felt that this story was mostly proved to be filler, but it definitely laid the groundwork for what is most likely to come in the last two books. It was full of a lot of information and, as such, was probably the least exciting book of the series next to the first one, in my opinion. But let me jump into the characters.

Clary was kind of annoying in this book. She didn’t seem to know how to act around Jace and she seemed really whiny at times. I mean, she was okay at some parts, but other times I just wanted to slap her upside the head and tell her to stop acting like such a brat. I dunno, maybe it was just the way she came off, but she seemed more concerned about her relationship with Jace more than anything, but I understand that that’s a big plot of the story. She did show concern for her friends and all that, but it seemed really focused on Jace rather than the situation at hand.

Jace was also an idiot in this book. He kind of acted impulsively throughout most of it by not sleeping, by acting like the world was kind of ending because he and Clary were growing distant… He feels he’s a danger, a threat, to Clary. But I think that was mostly because he believed so much in the words of others rather than listening to his own heart and mind. I thought he did do well in the battle aspects, like usual, but he made mistakes and I thought that was good of him. He just kind of annoyed me as well, but hopefully he’ll get better in the next books.

There was so much of Simon in this book! We got to see a lot from his perspective and how his life as a vampire has really changed almost everything about him. His powers are developing more and he’s learning to control urges – but he makes a major mistake when he ends up sucking a human’s blood from their body. He’s horrified at it, but it makes him feel that much more alive. It was interesting to see so much of the story through him, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I felt like a good chunk, maybe around half, if not more, of the story revolved around his point of view. I enjoyed reading about it and everything, but I thought we may have missed some things because of it. I do think he’s growing as a character, though, and I’m glad to have gotten to see so much into his head.

Isabelle was starting to make more appearances in this novel, and though I’m still on the fence about her, she does seem to be developing feelings for Simon. She’s a bit more protective of him and I think she’s also learning she doesn’t need to be as cold and shut out to the world as she once was.

Alec and Magnus made very few appearances in this book and when we did see them we saw Alec being whiny and Magnus trying to deal with him. I thought the interactions could have been better and I wish Alec wasn’t so jealous of a past lover of Magnus’s.

As I mentioned, there was a lot of information dumped into this book, from who was possibly killing Shadowhunters to who could be an enemy to new enemies to what happened with Maia and her ex-boyfriend. It’s a lot to take in, and even though this book was short it still held some good qualities that I can see potential for in upcoming books.

The plot of the book itself was interesting and I wanted to know more about who was killing the Shadowhunters and why. I do think we were told who and why, but I wished that more could have happened or something… I feel like an element was missing to this book in a way. I also wonder about the upcoming wedding, about what happened Jace and Sebastian, about what’s going to happen next with the characters. I mean, it was a good book, but I definitely think there was something missing from it that the last three books held.

In a way this book follows a whole new plotline with the same characters and all of that, but I’m not sure how I feel about this continuation. I loved the wrap-up to the first three books, but this one just feels a little off to me. But at the same time I’m also intrigued to see just where this new plot with Sebastian and Camille and everyone else takes us.

Overall, I do recommend giving this book a go if you’re reading the Mortal Instruments and just to enjoy what you can.

I give this book a 3.75/5 stars.

Shadowhunters Casting: Thoughts So Far

If you haven’t heard, The Mortal Instruments is getting a remake after the movie flopped horribly in 2013. Now, it’s being turned into a TV show to be played on ABC Family starting in 2016.

Okay, so I didn’t see the movie because I heard from people I trust that it sucked and was full of cheese. So… I can’t really base anything off of that, BUT I can talk about the casting decisions being made so far!

I love The Mortal Instruments, and the fact that the show is being called Shadowhunters makes me wonder if they’ll include The Infernal Devices somewhere in there, too, as backstory? That would be awesome.

Alright, so let me talk about the casting so far:

Jace Wayland

  • He is being played by Dominic Sherwood, who also starred as Christian in the book-to-movie adaptation of The Vampire Academy (which also flopped). But he also starred in Taylor Swift’s music video for Style and oh my lanta, he is an attractive man (those eyes!). Now, I don’t know his acting skills apart from his music video acting skills, but I’m going to assume that he’ll be good. He looks like he can play Jace with the sexy indifference and the snarky attitude, so I’m hoping that he’ll be a good Jace.

Isabelle Lightwood

  • Izzy is being played by Emeraude Toubia. Wow, is she gorgeous. And she looks a lot like how I envisioned Isabelle to be. Now I don’t know anything about what else she’s played in, but it looks like some Spanish movies, so I’m not sure how she’ll portray Izzy. I think she looks the part, for sure, and she was obviously good enough to have been cast in this role, so I hope that she does Izzy justice as a badass female Shadowhunter.

Simon Lewis

  • Simon is being played by Alberto Rosende. He has the most adorable smile! And with glasses, he looks like the perfect Simon. He played a part in the show Blue Bloods, a show about NY cops, and he was in a movie short, but again he’s a person who doesn’t seem to have much acting experience behind him. So far all of the people who have been cast seem to be that way, but they’re all gorgeous people. I do think he’ll do a good job, though, and I can’t wait to see him play our nerdy Simon.


So far only these three have been cast. It’s actually really exciting to see who is going to be cast for what part (diversity for the win!). I’m excited for this show and I sincerely hope that the pilot will do an excellent job at portraying the books much more than the movie.

I am worried, though, since the actors don’t have a lot under their belt, BUT it’s also a great opportunity for them to show the world how they act (literally) and how they’ll portray these characters that we love.

Honestly, they look the part, but can they play it? I guess we’ll find out next year, huh?

Other major characters who we’re waiting to hear cast are:

  • CLARY, the main freaking heroine.
  • Valentine, the main villain.
  • Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn (and best character ever).
  • Jocelyn Fray, Clary’s mom.
  • Alec Lightwood, Izzy’s brother and best friend to Jace.
  • Luke Garroway, Clary’s “uncle” and resident werewolf.
  • Church, the cat. (just kidding, but they better get a gray persian cat to play him)

I think that’s it… Anyway, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the casting, and I’m especially anxious to hear who Clary will be.

What are your thoughts on the casting so far? Are you excited to see who’s playing Jace, Simon, and Isabelle so far? Who are you most excited to see cast next? Let me know!