Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Settle in y’all, I have got a lot to say about this!

I originally read Clockwork Angel in December of 2018. It was my first Cassandra Clare book.

I knew about The Mortal Instruments series, but mistakenly believed that I wouldn’t like it and since this one is set in Victorian London, a setting I adore, I figured I could start here.

I was not prepared for how much I would enjoy this world. I knew after I completed this, I wanted to read every single word Clare had ever written in the Shadowhunter Chronicles.

In addition to that, I want to be caught up and able to pick up her upcoming trilogy, The Wicked Powers, as it is published. With the first book expected to drop in 2022, I definitely think I can accomplish my goal.

I have since done some research and decided to read these books in publication order.

Early in 2020, I started the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, City of Glass and really enjoyed it.

Since then I have completed the first three books in that series and before I knew it, it was time to reread Clockwork Angel.

Reading it this time, with the background of TMI, I definitely picked up more intricate details than I did the first time around.

The first time I read it, I never felt lost, or like there was information I was missing, but it definitely made more sense this time around.

I liked how Clare introduced us to Tessa, who like Clary, is new to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

These characters learning the ins-and-outs of that system allows the Reader to learn along with them, without it feeling info-dumpy.

Going into this book, even the first time, I had heard so much about Will and Jem. I can definitely say, their characters do not disappoint.

I think this time around, I found myself focusing a bit more on their friendship. I really appreciate how connected they are to one another. It’s nice to see that unconditional support.

The intrigue in this was great and the action, especially towards the end, was so much fun!

Next up for me is City of Fallen Angels, which I am planning to get to this month.

I am beyond ready to continue on my journey through the Shadowhunters Chronicles. If these first four books are any indication, I have an exciting road ahead!

**If you have made it through this entire semi-review without nodding off, and happen to be a Shadowhunter fan, perhaps leave a comment down below telling me something you love about these books.

Whether it is your favorite book, favorite series within the world, favorite character, etc. No spoilers, please. Remember, I am a Shadowhunter baby. I don’t know a lot yet!

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Review: The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

The ShudderingThe Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s not to enjoy about a classically-constructed gore fest with horrifying monsters!?

The Shuddering follows a group of friends on a snowboarding holiday in the unforgiving Colorado mountains.

The Adler twins, Ryan and Jane, spent a lot of their childhood at their parent’s posh ski cabin. Now that their parents are no longer together, their father has decided to sell the memorable property.

Ryan, who has just accepted a job overseas, decides to plan one final weekend at the home with his twin and his best friend, Sawyer.

Jane, recently divorced, decides to bring along her best friend, Lauren and Sawyer brings his gloomy girlfriend, April. Jane, who dated Sawyer in high school and really never got over him, isn’t exactly excited about April’s presence.

As the weekend gets underway, it’s clear tension is going to be the name of the game. Unfortunately, for the Adler party, that’s soon to be the least of their worries.

There’s something lurking in the woods, observing them, coming closer and closer to the cabin and it’s hungry.

Oona, Ryan’s beloved husky, is the first to notice something is amiss.

Her strange behavior leads Ryan to believe that a wolf pack may be hunting in the area.

When a blizzard hits, they become snowed in and the agitation reaches a new peak. The group ends up separating as April and Sawyer try to depart the property.

It doesn’t end well.

From there the intensity and action never stops. As you learn the truth of what pursues the group of weekend travelers, the desperation of their circumstances becomes more and more clear.

I love how Ahlborn built this out. It’s a classic set-up for a horror story and that was exactly the vibe that I was looking for when I picked it up.

I was stressed about the dog, of course. If you have ever read any of my reviews, you probably could have guessed that was coming, so that did have a slight effect on my enjoyment level.

Also, some the decisions made by the characters were questionable, but at the same time, I think that is half the fun. I mean, is a Horror movie even enjoyable if you aren’t yelling at the screen half the time?

The gore and violence were very well done. It was disgusting, it was bloody, it was stomach-churning and it was unrelenting.

I would definitely recommend this to any fan of the horror genre; particularly, if you, like me, enjoy horror stories set in Winter. This is the perfect book for that vibe!

I was a fan of Ahlborn’s work prior to this, but this definitely seals the deal. I will read anything she writes!

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Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

LoreLore by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I fully acknowledge Lore won’t be for everyone, I freaking loved this so much!!!

Greek Mythology meets The Hunger Games?

Every seven years, the Agon begins. Essentially a punishment, during the Agon, nine Greek Gods are forced to walk the Earth as mortals, all the while being hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines.

If a God is killed during the Agon, the hunter responsible for their death gets to seize their powers and immortality, thus becoming a New God.

Melora, known as Lore, is a part of the Perseous line. She is no longer participating in the Agon. Lore has left that whole world behind and kept herself hidden since the last hunt left her entire family dead in their home, including her two little sisters, murdered by a rival clan.

Living in New York City, Lore has done a good job blending in and has successfully flown under the radar of anyone related to the hunt. At least that’s what she thinks.

One night a blast from her past, her childhood best friend, Castor, ends up tracking her down. Their brief conversation intrigues Lore enough to make her question whether she really can leave that life behind.

Their interaction really rattles her. She has suspected that Castor was dead, so to have him just show up like that, it was a lot.

Little does she know, things are about to get a lot more interesting.

Arriving home, she discovers the Greek Goddess Athena, one of the few remaining original Gods, injured on the steps of her brownstone, pleading for her help!

Before she knows it, Lore has rejoined the hunt, pairing with Athena and hoping to finally get revenge on the man she blames for the murder of her family.

Y’all, I loved this book from the start.

I was so intrigued about this whole concept and absolutely loved the characters.

I think Bracken did a great job of building this out and keeping the pace steady throughout. There was always plenty of action and intrigue to keep me wanting more.

Lore is a very strong character, but you can tell that she is hurting a lot. As her past is slowly revealed, through chapters focusing on her childhood and the end of the last Agon, my heart absolutely ached for her.

This girl has been through it.

Over the course of the story, you really watch her character evolve from a damaged soul to a true force to be reckoned with.

I loved the relationships within this story. The friend group, made up of Lore, Castor, Van, Miles and Iro, was so great to read. I loved their dynamic and the way their personalities played off of one another; particularly Miles, the only one not from an ancient bloodline.

The Agon, at its heart, really is a competition; one of my favorite tropes. There was a lot of danger. I mean really, the entire time, Lore and her friends are on the move.

They’re constantly in fear for their lives, which makes you constantly in fear for their lives!

This felt like a superhero story to me and I was living for it. Towards the end, there are all sorts of surprising twists and reveals. Lore is a blast to read!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it.

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Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

The Wife UpstairsThe Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-star**

Channeling the naturally gothic atmosphere of the American South, The Wife Upstairs puts a decidedly modern twist on a beloved classic.

Jane Bell is new to Alabama. Living on the outskirts of the posh neighborhood of Thornfield Estates, Jane originally works in a coffee shop, but then takes up dog-walking for the wealthy families within Thornfield.

She begins to learns the ins-and-outs of their lifestyle, envying and occasionally taking a little something for herself.

Jane is especially interested in the largest and most opulent property of all, imagining what it would be like to live there.

Once she meets the homeowner, a handsome young Widower, Eddie Rochester, things begin to change quite quickly for Jane.

As she and Eddie start a relationship, Jane can’t help but be curious about his late-wife, Bea, whose presence is still very much felt in his life.

The more she learns about Bea, the more she wonders what Eddie sees in her?

When questions begin to arise about Bea’s death, Jane becomes even more suspicious of the man she believes she is falling in love with.

Full of small town gossip and drama, this story was a cleverly-plotted, modern-interpretation of Jane Eyre. While I have never read Jane Eyre, after this, I really want to!

I really enjoyed how Hawkins gave us alternating perspectives between present-time, Jane, and past-Bea. The evolution of the story was very nicely done.

These perspective shifts also made the reveals fun and fast-paced.

Even though most of us know the basic outline of this story, I enjoyed where Hawkins took it.

In particular, I enjoyed how morally grey, Jane was. She’s not a helpless Ingenue looking for a savior. She is clearly a girl who can take care of herself. I loved that.

If you are in the mood for a fast, super-fun domestic suspense novel, look no further. Pick this book up and enjoy the show!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it so much and look forward to Hawkins writing more in the Adult space!

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Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Burn Our Bodies DownBurn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

I feel like one of the few people left in the YA book world who hasn’t read Wilder Girls.

I own it, of course. Have you seen the cover!? I have added it to many TBRs, but have yet to pick it up.

When I received an early copy of Rory Power’s sophomore novel, Burn Our Bodies Down, I was shocked and excited.

I couldn’t wait to pick it up and then, I just didn’t. Long story short, I am a horrible reviewer, but you read my reviews, you probably know that.

I finally decided to give this one a shot over my week-long Christmas vacation. I am kicking myself now because I really enjoyed this. Why didn’t I read it months ago!?

Burn Our Bodies Down is equal parts weird, disturbing, suspenseful and heartbreaking. Some of my favorite characteristics to find in a book.

The story follows teen, Margot, who has lived with just her mother her entire life. She knows of no other family and any time she presses her mother for info about their past, or where she came from, her mother loses it.

Her mom is extremely unstable and their relationship is quite contentious. Margot has never felt wanted, or loved, and lives her life walking on eggshells.

Just as Margot gets to the end of her rope, she discovers a clue. The only hint she has ever had in regards to her mother’s early life.

It’s a photograph, tucked into a family bible, signed by who she believes is her grandmother. In addition to a phone number, the photo also indicates a town name: Phalene.

She’s shocked. Phalene isn’t even that far away. She decides to go there, find her grandmother and finally get some answers.

Arriving in town, Margot meets a couple of local teens she tries to needle information out of. While she is with them, they receive news of a fire on her grandmother’s farm.

The kids rush to check out the scene and end up finding the fields in flames and a body.

Upon further inspection, they discover the body is a girl, about their age and she looks exactly like Margot.

Thus begins the head-scratching drama that surrounds Margot’s family’s farm.

I can’t even begin to tell you how confused and intrigued I was by what was going on in Phalene.

She meets her Grandmother, Vera, and stays with her, but continues to be brushed off when she tries to get definitive answers about her mother’s childhood, or where she came from.

Margot learns many things in her first few days in Phalene, including the existence of family members she never knew about, including her mother’s twin sister, Katherine. During her investigation, she also ends up making a couple of friends along the way.

There is a dark feeling of unease that spans this entire novel.

You know, deep in your heart, that something is very wrong in Phalene and Margot’s family is at the heart of it, but what!?

I would classify this as an Ecological Horror Novel, a genre I have been enjoying quite a bit lately.

I personally loved Power’s writing style, although I did think some of Margot’s musings eventually bordered on repetitive. With this being said, Power’s ability to write body horror is top-notch; that cannot be denied.

I would recommend this one to Horror readers, particularly if you read and enjoyed Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s, Mexian Gothic. I would say the two stories channel a lot of similar vibes.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion and will definitely be picking up Wilder Girls now!

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Review: Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

Hearts in AtlantisHearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

My first time reading Hearts in Atlantis, if Goodreads existed, I would have given it 3.5-stars and rounded up to 4.

Alas, it was the Stone Age and it didn’t. Dark times, my friends. Dark times.

Many years have passed and I think the fact that I now have age and experience on my side, allows me to view this work from a completely different perspective.

While this most likely explains the significant jump in my rating, I think the fact that I have now read the first six books in the Dark Tower series, also contributes.

There are a lot of interesting references and connections between this book and those.

While the Hearts collection is more understated, it is very powerful. There’s a lot of food for thought in here and I think every reader will take a little something different away.

I really enjoyed how each story follows a different child of the 60s at different stages of their lives. So, while it follows different people, it still keeps that classic coming of age vibe.

I think the collection as a whole fits very well together.

I won’t claim to understand every nuance of these stories, but I do feel like I got a significant amount of meaning out of it this time around.

I would love to read this again someday; maybe in another decade or so. I’m sure it would affect me differently at that time.

This feels more introspective for King. One for his generation. It’s impressive, it’s beautiful, it’s powerful and it’s definitely worth picking up!

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Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest ListThe Guest List by Lucy Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Lucy Foley’s, The Guest List, was a fun and fast-paced, guessing game of a read. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie or Ruth Ware.

Weddings are generally memorable occasions. There’s frequently some level of drama simmering just under the pristine surface.

That’s certainly the case for Jules and Will’s wedding, taking place on a remote Irish island that the grumbling guests agree to congregate on for a 48-hour period.

This story is told from multiple perspectives over the course of the weekend, with the body and the killer only being revealed at the very end.

I was intrigued from the very start. This story has one of my favorite things, well, many of my favorite things, but one of the most notable was the quirky cast of unlikable characters.

Everyone had something to hide. Everyone had an axe to grind and I was there for every cat-clawing moment of it.

The setting was extremely atmospheric, channeling a gothic vibe by incorporating some of the island’s earlier history into the tale.

The varying perspectives kept the chapters short and therefore the story never had a chance to fall into a lull. Each chapter ended on a sort of mini-cliffhanger that kept me wanting more.

This book received a lot of buzz this year and for good reason. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this one up yet, what are you waiting for!?

I cannot wait to see what Lucy Foley comes up with next!!!

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Review: Safecracker by Ryan Wick

SafecrackerSafecracker by Ryan Wick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Professional safecracker, Michael Maven, has pulled off a number of dangerous heists over the course of his career.

His latest job, obtaining a rare coin from a New York City apartment, is fairly simple in the scheme of things.

What he doesn’t plan for however, is that another individual will try to steal the coin on the very same night.

In fact, the thief, a beautiful woman, enters the apartment while Michael is there, with the coin’s owner. She proceeds to kill the innocent man, while Michael watches from his hiding place.

When she takes the coin from the safe and attempts to leave the apartment, Michael can’t just sit by. He has put a lot of effort into this night and will not let her ruin it!

A struggle ensues.

Michael, though shaken, believes the night to be a wash, until she finds him again. Maven barely makes it out of their next encounter with his life.

Now he is on the radar of her employer, a sadistic drug lord known as El Cerdo, who needs Michael to perform a job for him.

Unfortunately, Michael doesn’t really have a say in the matter. He needs to do what the man asks, or else risk not just his life, but the lives of those he cares about most.

Michael’s new mission finds him in Miami, pairing up with the woman who tried to kill him, as well as other employees of El Cerdo. He has under a week to steal back a valuable notebook from the home of the head of a rival cartel.

Safecracker is action-packed from page one. It truly reads like a movie and I found it to be quite addicting.

I enjoyed Michael, as a character, a lot. He was rugged, charming and skillful; three great attributes for a leading man.

While this isn’t the type of book I would generally gravitate towards, I did have a lot of fun reading it and would recommend it to others.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Thomas Dunne, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

From the fantastic Epilogue, I am assuming this will not be the last we see of Michael Maven. I would absolutely pick up more books following his character if they are published.

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Review: The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

The Ravens (The Ravens, #1)The Ravens by Kass Morgan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars**

I’m so sorry, y’all. I really wanted to love this.

The Ravens has so many great elements that I thought would really work for me, but unfortunately, it just didn’t.

The story alternates between two perspectives, Scarlett Winters and Vivi Deveraux.

Scarlett is a legacy Raven at Westerly College, aiming for the slot of sorority president, like her mother and sister before her.

Vivi is a freshman, who is shocked when she receives a bid to join the exclusive sorority. From what she gathered at the rush party, she’s not really Kappa Rho Nu material.

But the sisters saw something in her and that something is power. Magic power.

The Ravens are witches, each and every one of them.

Vivi didn’t realize she was a witch. Her mother had always dappled in occult practices, but Vivi assumed it was all an act. Apparently not.

After rush, Vivi’s pledge class are assigned their Bigs and then set about learning not just the history of the sorority, but everything else they need to know about being a proper Raven.

I was so excited when I started this novel. I was in a sorority and was looking forward to getting nostalgic about rush and all the amazing time and friendships that followed.

While initially, I did get a few of those feels, I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to be taking this seriously or not.

I am not sure how best to explain what I mean by that. It was like I couldn’t interpret the tone. From there it was just sort of all over the place for me.

I had moments when I was really into it and a lot of moments where I couldn’t care less.

Around the middle I could tell, it just wasn’t for me. I felt nothing for the characters and I didn’t feel like any part of the plot was particularly compelling.

There were two male characters who were basically interchangeable for me. I could really only tell which one it was when another character said their name.

That’s never good.

Bottom line, this just wasn’t the right story for me. I never connected with it and was happy when it was over.

As I always say however, just because it wasn’t the right book for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be the right book for you. If you think the synopsis sounds intriguing, pick it up and give it a go!

Thank you so much to the audiobook publisher, RB Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I always appreciate the opportunity to give my thoughts!

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Review: Eventide by Sarah Goodman

EventideEventide by Sarah Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

In 1907, Verity Pruitt and her little sister, Lilah, arrive in Wheeler, Arkansas, aboard an orphan train.

The girl’s mother has passed away and their father, apparently suffering from overwhelming grief, has been committed to an asylum.

With no family to take them in, the girls become wards of the state, in spite of the fact that Verity is close to turning eighteen.

When they arrive in Arkansas, it is clear that a family is already waiting for Lilah, but poor Verity will not be going with them.

She does still luck out though, as an amazing family is willing to take her in and they live only a couple of miles from Lilah’s new home.

Of course, Verity’s position is more as a farmhand initially, than an adopted child. She’s okay with that though, a little hard work never hurt anybody.

As Verity settles in at her new home, enjoying her work on the farm and her new friendships, she discovers that something lurks in the woods surrounding the town.

It’s unsettling the things she sees as she accidentally ventures into the woods one night.

As she works to uncover the truth behind the strange things she has seen and experienced, Verity begins to uncover some truths about her own family instead.

Goodman definitely succeeded at bringing a fun, creepy atmosphere to this historical fiction tale.

I really enjoyed the setting and the cast of characters.

Some of the plot was a bit too simple for my tastes, as well as slightly campy towards the end, but it was still a quick, enjoyable read!

I definitely recommend this to readers who like the idea of a creepy read, but they don’t actually want to be scared.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

As a debut, this is impressive. I look forward to reading more from Sarah Goodman. I hope she stays in this lane. It works for her!

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