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: 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 Tommyknockers by Stephen King

The TommyknockersThe Tommyknockers by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Okay, I know, I know. This isn’t a perfect book.

Luckily, I am not a critical reader. Therefore a book doesn’t need to be entirely perfect in order for me to love it.

I rate books based upon my reading experience and I absolutely loved my time rereading The Tommyknockers.

This SciFi-Horror novel, first published in 1987, is set in the small town of Haven, Maine.

One day while walking in the woods of her rather large property, local woman, Bobbi Anderson, quite literally stumbles upon a mysterious metal object protruding from the ground.

Unable to understand what she is seeing, Bobbi quickly becomes obsessed with freeing the object.

The longer she’s around it however, the more she begins to notice certain disturbing side effects suffered by both herself and her old dog, Peter.

Regardless of any strange happenings, Bobbi continues to feel the pull of the object in the woods.

Around the time Bobbi has developed this new obsession, her old friend, Jim Gardener, known as Gard, finds himself in the depths of a true alcoholic bender.

On a morning where he is moments from ending it all, Gard experiences an overwhelming feeling that Bobbi is in real danger; he needs to call her.

Unable to get through, he does what anyone would do. He hitchhikes to her house.

He finds Bobbi in a state of, shall we say, disrepair.

Bobbi gives Gard, her trusted friend, a run-down of all she has been up to; including showing him the object.

She enlists his help in her mission to free it. Although he has reservations, Gard loves Bobbi in his own way, and ultimately does decide to stick around and help her out.

From there, we meet the town of Haven. The other locals who have begun to feel the effects of the object’s greater exposure.

The fallout seems to be having an effect on the health and wellness of the entire town. Incidentally, it also has a significant effect on anyone passing through.

Written towards the end of the Cold War, at a time when discussions of nuclear weapons, power and nonproliferation evoked a lot of passion amongst people, that influence can be felt here.

The fact that I am using the word fallout, as an apt way to describe what was happening to the citizens of Haven, exemplifies that.

In addition to the social commentary, which I feel King is genuinely good at weaving into his stories, he also incorporates various other elements he seems to enjoy exploring.

There’s author protagonists, both Bobbi and Gard are writers, alcoholism, mental telepathy, revivalist preachers, dolls, rats, bats, creepy kids and a fantastic array of body horror. It really has it all.

Also, as usual, this story is full of witty humor and characters that are so well-developed you feel like you’ve known them your whole life.

As a Maine native, I can tell you this story is full of Mainerism, as well!

Overall, I had such a fun time sinking my teeth into this one again. I had forgotten so much.

Additionally, I picked up so many more connections to the great Kingverse than the first time around; having an additional 20-years to read his stories.

I think this one is underrated. Not just underrated, it gets a solidly bad rap.

However, I humbly disagree. I think if you love King, and love SciFi, you can love this book as well.

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Stephen King Reread #4 of 2019: The Dark Half, Review

The Dark HalfThe Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


George Stark. Not a very nice guy.

Stephen King Reread #4 for the year and it was just as brilliant as I remembered. Equal parts warped, dark and brutal, this story is a must read for any King fan.

I won’t get into the connections between this and King’s own life and experience with Richard Bachman. Let’s hope this twisted tale of a pseudonym gone rogue is 100% a work of fiction.

I mean, a man gets beaten to death with his own prosthetic arm! That’s rough and that doesn’t even begin to brush the surface of this super violent narrative.

The story begins when our protagonist, Thad Beaumont, is just a kid suffering from debilitating headaches and auditory hallucinations. During surgical exploration of his brain, it is discovered that Thad absorbed a twin in utero and parts of that twin suddenly began growing again causing the symptoms he was experiencing!

With that strange occurrence out of the way, Thad goes on to live a normal life. He becomes a college professor and writer, gets married, has twins, creates a pseudonym, George Stark, to write under that he subsequently kills off after being outed…

You know, the usual.

There’s one problem with this life plan, however, George Stark doesn’t want to be dead. He wants to continue his successful pulp fiction writing and he needs Thad on board in order to do so.

When people involved with Thad’s career begin being brutally murdered, Thad is the prime suspect. Even though he has a solid alibi, there is physical evidence linking him to the crimes, like fingerprints!

Thad is innocent and sets out to prove it, as well as stop the person responsible. Along with everyone’s favorite Sheriff, Alan Pangborn, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together with startling results.

The sparrows are flying again…

If you are looking for a viscious, creepy read to pick up this Autumn, look no further. This King Classic has some of the best body horror ever written and will leave you with a sense of dreadful anticipation the entire way through!!!

Highly recommend!

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KING REREAD: Desperation Review

DesperationDesperation by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

A bizarrely assembled cast of characters, all with distinct strengths and weaknesses, come together to fight an evil, older and more powerful than they could have ever imagined.

That would be my single-sentence synopsis if someone were to ask me what Desperation is about. If you have ever read a Stephen King novel however, you know there is a lot more to it than that.

I read Desperation for the first time around 2001. I was just done with undergraduate school and was so excited to have time to read for fun. I read quite a few King books that year. At the time, I remember liking it but I wasn’t blown away and ultimately decided on a 3-star rating.

Now, close to 20-years later, this is pretty damn close to a perfect read for me.

What can explain the difference?

I’m not really sure. I was so invested in this. The characters were a huge part of the enjoyment factor for me. In my very humble opinion, no one does characters quite like King. He is a master of developing every aspect of character’s personality and the reasons behind it. You never wonder what’s the motivation, you know.

This also has one of my all-time favorite tropes. The mix-matched group of characters, placed into extraordinary circumstances, who band together, no matter their ultimate disagreements about the world, and fight against evil.

Good v. Evil.
I love it.
I’m here for it pretty much every time.

This novel is extremely violent, bloody and graphic. Some of the scenes made my toes curls and my stomach lurch. If that is not your thing, you may want to hard pass on this one. The use of creepy crawlers to instill fear was expertly crafted; again, those with strong fears of snakes, spiders, scorpions, or other beasties of that sort, may want to steer clear.

My one extremely slight critique would be that the final showdown felt a little rushed, hence the 4.5-star rating, as opposed to full 5. This book has a nice, long build-up, and I could definitely have read some more substance at the end. It was great but still I wanted more!

Overall, I am beyond happy that I took the plunge and reread this 706-page beast of modern, horror fiction. I am currently rereading The Regulators and totally digging the many connections I missed the first time around. I would definitely recommend reading these two back-to-back for maximum enjoyment!

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April is here!!

Well, April is finally here!  Ahhhh, Spring…it actually snowed today which was really strange but yes, now the sun is out and it is finally Spring.  I just wanted to write my super exciting plans for reading this month.  I do not have any reviews currently that I am in a mental space to write so we will do a general status update today.

This weekend I finished my reread of The Shining by Stephen King which is one of my all time favorite books.  I have to say, I think it was even better the second time round or maybe it is because I am so much older now I can appreciate it more.  I first read The Shining in high school, so over 20 years ago, and I was so freaked out through the whole thing that I think I may have missed a few details. I did remember my favorite chapter though when I got to it, almost paragraph for paragraph.  Chapter 36, The Elevator.  Wow.  A chapter that could be a total workshop in horror writing – but honestly, this book is a masterpiece.  I think people forget just how groundbreaking it was for psychological horror when it was first released.  The year was 1977, people! This book is a classic.  A timeless classic and I will always love it.

This leads me in to my reason for rereading it now – I am joining a readalong through Instagram called the #traintoteenytown which is a large group readalong of Doctor Sleep. For those of you who may not know, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining which King released in 2013…quick math = 36 years later.  Little did I know when I bought it upon release day that it was the book I had been waiting for my entire life!  Danny Torrance, all grown up. After I finished Doctor Sleep, I thought to myself, ‘man, I would love to read them back-to-back someday’ – as it turns out, today is that day.  So, I finished The Shining on Saturday night and started my reread of Doctor Sleep this morning before work.

Quite literally, The Shining/Doctor Sleep combo is the most brilliant duology ever penned and I will stick to that! I am excited to be reading it this time with a group as well.  We have a certain number of pages to read each week, for four weeks, with discussion questions sent out on the Sunday of each week to discuss via group chat.  Most of the people reading it are reading it for the first time so I am really looking forward to hearing their thoughts on it.  I will be annotating it this time around so am hoping to bring some insight into the discussion as a 2nd time reader.

Also this month, I will be participating in a buddy read of Justin Cronin’s, The Passage, with a group of my book buddies (we are lovingly called the Floatin’ Troopers) – really looking forward to diving into this post-apocalyptic horror trilogy as I have heard nothing but good things about it.  It’s a pretty long book, the paperback edition coming in at 766 pages, so we are reading this one into May.  Our group usually picks one book a month that we all try to read – it is very informal though and discussions are usually steered more towards how the book is making us feel, what our thoughts are on a particular author’s writing style as opposed to plot points; that way we aren’t spoiling things for our buddies who may not have gotten as far in the book.

I have a couple other books I am hoping to get to this month.  Firstly, I hope to finish all of the 9 books I am currently reading! I have some ARCs I really need to get to this month and I definitely want to get to Tomi Adeyemi’s, Children of Blood & Bone.  What are you looking forward to reading this month? Anyone else doing any buddy reads or book club reads? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Happy reading!!!