November 2018 Wrap Up

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Hey, friends! I had a strange November! I started the month off by going to Blizzcon, which was so amazing! But it put me in the worst book slump, because I came home only wanting to play video games! But, after four audiobooks I was able to break out of the slump towards the end of the month, and I was able to read fourteen things in total!

But on to what I read in November…
(Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.)


The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker – ★★★★

“Looking back, it seemed to me I’d been trying to escape not just from the camp, but from Achilles’s story; and I’d failed. Because make no mistake, this was his story—his anger, his grief, his story. I was angry, I was grieving, but somehow that didn’t matter.”

This is a feminist reimagining of Homer’s The Iliad, centering on the Trojan War, but is told in a completely different light than ever before. Yes, we get to see the Trojans and Greeks battle and Achilles be the hero the world knows and loves, but this tale is all about a voice that is never heard in other renditions.


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare – ★★★★★

“I breathe when you breathe, I bleed when you bleed, I’m yours and you’re mine, you’ve always been mine, and I have always, always belonged to you!”

I went into this brand-new series, that has been building up in the previous series for some time now, never expecting the main story to be about a secret murderous cult. Like, the blessings. Basically, in Lady Midnight Emma is still unable to let the mysterious deaths of her parents go unsolved, even though everyone else thinks they were just the first casualties of the start of the Dark War. But it has been five years since then, and the Cold Peace is still being held up by the Shadowhunters, making it so no one can help or work with the fae.


Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★

“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.”

I did adore this book. It was just what I needed. I actually was feeling really slumpy before I picked this up, and not only did it rectify that, but it reminded me why I love books and stories and fictional worlds so much. I know Brandon Sanderson isn’t for everyone, but he truly is a master at his craft and every book and series he touches turns to gold. And his world-building is honestly on a tier above all else in the genre. And, again, I cannot wait for book two. And I cannot wait to learn everything about a certain blue and orange slug.


Enchantée by Gita Trelease – ★★

“Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.”

I wanted to love this so much, friends. But sadly, it just fell so very short for me. I felt like the author was trying to cram so many important things that happened in France in that time into this book, while also trying to write her own story, and both elements just made this entire story feel disjointed and left a lot to be desired.


Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare – ★★★★

“Break my heart. Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”

I really did love this book, even if I didn’t love it as much as LM. I just truly think that Cassie Clare is getting more and more talented as an author, and I expect she is going to give us the entire world with QoAaD. Like, I am so hyped that I predict it will make my top five of 2018.


The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton – ★★★★★

“I will wear the crown, and I will get it like a king. Not as a mother and wife, but as the firstborn child, as the strongest.”

This is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear unlike any reimagining I’ve ever read before. Tessa Gratton stays very true to the original play, and really makes a feminist statement on all the themes, but she made something so unique, so powerful, and so much its own thing. And every book I read from her ensures that she is becoming one of my favorite authors of all-time. From the themes she creates, to the lyrical writing she weaves, to the beautiful stories she creates, I five star everything by her. And The Queens of Innis Lear was no different, it is a masterpiece.


Ghosts of the Shadow Market (1 – 8) by Cassandra Clare – N/A

“Your voice is the music I love best in all the world.”

This is scheduled to come out in June of 2019, and will include ten stories in total, but only eight have been released singly so far! Therefore, I am not going to give this collection a total star rating, I’m just going to let you know my individual star rating for each story separately, then come release I will do more in-depth and full review, that will also include the two stories that haven’t been released yet! But I hope this post gets you all hyped, because I can’t wait to read the final Dark Artifices book with the entire community in just a few more days!


Now I Rise (The Conqueror’s Saga #2) by Kiersten White – ★★★

“Hatred makes monsters of us all.”

It makes me sad to say this, but this series, or maybe just Kiersten White’s writing, just is not for me. I will say that I have had very bad luck with historical books this year, so maybe that is it? Because so many of my friends love this series so much. But full review to come!


A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – ★★★

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme. In this version, the Prince is forced to repeat the quest to find love over and over each season, while causing more and more bloodshed each time. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the very last one.


My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – ★★

“ I wonder whether I’m single not because I haven’t met the right person yet, but because I’m not the right person yet.”

So, the basic premise of this book is that there is a close-knit group of friends who all work sort of together. But they constantly hang out outside of the workplace, and they really are their own little found family. Oh, and they are all supposed to be super smart and super unlucky with dating. Yeah, it gave me Big Bang Theory vibes which is never a good sign. But anyways, they all need dates to this big event (which doesn’t even happen in the book, by the way) so they all download a dating app.


The Queen’s Resistance (The Queen’s Rising #2) by Rebecca Ross – ★★★★

“Crowning Isolde Kavanagh as the rightful queen was not the end of our rising. It was merely the beginning.”

This is the next installment, with the first book being The Queen’s Rising, and I loved this one just as much as the first! I feel like this is such an underhyped YA fantasy, by the debut author, but it is such a shining light. Plus, I got to buddy read this with Lea and it made it more perfect, because I think our friendship started because of the first book! Review to come very soon, friends!


Sadie by Courtney Summers – ★★★★★

“Sometimes I don’t know what I miss more; everything I’ve lost or everything I never had.”

Sadie is worth all the praise and hype you’ve heard about it. I had a feeling I was going to love this book, but I didn’t know that I would give it a piece of my heart. This is such a bright light in 2018 releases, and even though it handles some really tough topics, I recommend it with my entire heart and soul. And I will never forget Sadie or her story, and I will never stop listening to, and I will never stop believing, the voices of girls who have their own stories to tell.


The Unrequited by Saffron A. Kent – ★★★

“Unrequited love and insomnia are longtime friends of mine.”

Okay, this is a bit of a taboo story, but your girl was really craving something sexy by the end of November! And… this was just what I needed! I will say that this is a teacher/student (college) relationship and I know those aren’t for everyone. And the main character has… a lot going on! But this was a wild ride that I never wanted to get off of, honestly! Review to come ASAP!


Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman – ★★★★★

“But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…”

I just finished this this morning, and I’m soft, and weak, and so damn happy! Review to come soon, friends! But you can read this for free HERE!


Okay, that is everything that I read! What did you read this November? And more importantly, what did you love? I can’t believe we are at the last month in 2018 already! I’m so scared that I’m going to miss out on some amazing publications that this year had to offer, and that they won’t make my best of the year list! But I have read so many amazing books this year, and I feel so very blessed! I hope you all have an amazing December, and I’m sending you all love and light always! 💛✨

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November 2018 Book Haul

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Hey, friends! I’m not sure how it is already the end of the month, and already time for another book haul, but here we are! I was so blessed to get some amazing ARCS from publishers who always make my mailbox feel like it is Christmas! And I was also very privileged to pick up a few very anticipated releases! 💙


PURCHASED BOOKS:


The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
Wundersmith
Heartstopper
Skyward | Review: ★★★★
Girls of Paper and Fire | Review: ★★★★★
The Diviners
Lord of Shadows | Review: ★★★★
The Monster Baru Cormorant
Kingdom of Ash | Review: ★★★


PURCHASED EBOOKS:


Merry Inkmas (Free on Amazon US as of today!)


PHYSICAL ARCS FROM PUBLISHERS:


Miranda in Milan
My Favorite Half-Night Stand | Review: ★★★
The Weight of the Stars
The Hod King
The Binding
A Curse so Dark and Lonely | Review: ★★★


NETGALLEY ARCS:


One Word Kill


EDELWEISS ARCS:


The Beholder
With the Fire on High
The Wise and the Wicked
Descendant of the Crane


CATCH UP ON CLASSICS:


Rebecca
Wuthering Heights
A Study in Scarlet
Sense and Sensibility
Anna Karenina
Something Wicked This Way Comes


SUBSCRIPTION BOXES:


BOTM | A Ladder to the Sky


Owlcrate | Girls of Paper and Fire | Review: ★★★★★


Whew! I think that’s everything! Man oh man, did Edelweiss come through for me! So many good books! And I feel so very blessed that I was able to add all of these to my personal library! I hope you all are having a wonderful end of November, and I hope it is filled with amazing books for you, too! Happy reading, loves! ❄⛄

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#CatchUpOnClassics Announcement

 CatchUpOnClassicsHey friends! I have something so exciting to announce for you! in 2019, me and my dear friend Dani at Book Geeks Uncompromised are hosting three classic readalongs! In 2018, my goal was to read only one classic, but thanks to Dani I ended up reading so many with her, and loving the experience so much! And I am so honored that she is going to buddy read three more with me this year! And you’re all invited, too! 💛✨

And we actually have all the dates set, because we are both such little planners! But all of these will start on a Sunday, and then the following weekend we will watch a movie adaptation! But feel free just to read or watch along with us! But on to the books! 💕


JANUARY


A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle – 1887
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THE DATES
January 13th – Part One
January 14th – Part Two

BONUS BOOK & READALONG 


A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – 2016
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THE DATES
January 15th – Pages 1 – 60
January 16th – Pages 61 – 155
January 17th – Pages 156 – 234
January 18th – Pages 235 – End

THE ADAPTATION
Sunday the 20th
A Study in Pink – The first episode of the 2010 BBC series


FEBRUARY


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – 1847
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THE DATES
February 3rd – Chapters 1 -10
February 4th – Chapters 11 – 21
February 5th – Chapters 22 – End

THE ADAPTATION
Sunday the 10th
2009 PBS mini-series (2 episodes) with Tom Hardy


MARCH


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – 1811
Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon US (FREE w/ Prime)

THE DATES
March 10th – Chapters 1 – 13
March 11th – Chapters 14 – 2
March 12th – Chapters 3 – 12
March 13th – Chapters 13 – 12
March 14th – Chapters 13 – End

THE ADAPTATION
Sunday the 17th
2005 BBC mini-series (3 episodes) 


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Top Ten Tuesday | My Favorite Ships of 2018

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, friends! Today’s actual topic is “Platonic Relationships In Books” which you all know I’m always here for healthy friendships filled with unconditional love. But lately I’ve been in such a romance mood! So, I decided to tweak this week’s prompt a little and let you all know the top ten ships I’ve fallen in love with this year! And I even have them ranked in order from least favorite favorite to most favorite favorite! (And obviously, platonic relationships are just as important as romantic relationships! Your girl is just on the thirsty side this Tuesday!) 💖


Bloody Rose (The Band #2) by Nicholas Eames
Tam & Cura


The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco
Tea & Kalen


The Barrow Will Send What it May (Danielle Cain #2) by Margaret Killjoy
Danielle & Brynn


The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang
Stella & Michael


Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
Mara & Charlie


Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1) by Natasha Ngan
Lei & Wren


Blanca y Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
Blanca & Page


Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare
(Yes, this book doesn’t come out until a week from today but I’m that confident!)
Emma & Julian


Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton
Mairwen, Arthur, & Rhun


The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Cardan & Jude


Okay, my loves! That’s the list! I hope you all enjoyed! Seriously, the OTP status is real for all of these! Let me know your favorite new ship below! And I hope you’re all having the happiest of reading! And I’m very excited to announce something really special on the blog tomorrow for you all! 💕

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Sadie by Courtney Summers

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“I don’t know why this is the thing I choose to say out loud because it hurts to say it, to feel the truth of those words pass my lips, to have them be real in this world. But she’s dead is the reason I’m still alive. She’s dead is the reason I’m going to kill a man.”

Sadie is worth all the praise and hype you’ve heard about it. I had a feeling I was going to love this book, but I didn’t know that I would give it a piece of my heart. This is such a bright light in 2018 releases, and even though it handles some really tough topics, I recommend it with my entire heart and soul. And I will never forget Sadie or her story, and I will never stop listening to, and I will never stop believing, the voices of girls who have their own stories to tell.

This story is told in alternating chapters between a podcast and Sadie. We follow nineteen-year-old Sadie who is on a mission to murder the person who she believes has murdered her thirteen-year-old sister. The podcast is about five months behind the steps of Sadie, but the two storylines come together so very beautifully. But again, this is a dark book and this review is going to talk about some of those elements, so please use caution. Content and trigger warnings for pedophilia, loss of a loved one, bullying, assault, sexual assault, murder, death, extreme parental abandonment and neglect, talk of suicide, drug use, and underage drinking.

We get bread crumb after bread crumb from Sadie, while she travels to get revenge for her sister, the only person she has ever loved in this world. And the story really is so expertly crafted with the podcast element. I will say that I did listen to this on audiobook because so many people recommend the story to be experienced that way, but I didn’t love it as much as most people. But then again, I do have a hard time with audiobooks. But I fell so in love with Sadie and her story, that I listened to this in one day and one sitting.

And I know a lot of people don’t love the ending, but I think it is one of the most powerful endings I’ve probably ever read in my entire life. Plus, I feel like the choice of the cover of Sadie is genius, because Sadie truly is a faceless girl. She is a girl like so many whose stories don’t get to end happily, a girl whose story rarely even gets to be heard, and when it does it isn’t believed.

Something that I think is a really easy concept, but is hard for so many people to understand, is that rapists and pedophiles can be kind, and successful, and funny, and pillars of their community, and it will still never take away from the fact that they are rapists and pedophiles. The other titles and attributes do not lessen the fact that someone is a rapist or a pedophile. And how we teach girls at a very young age that the crimes committed against their bodies, and against their wills, is something to feel shame over. And how we live inside a broken system where rapists can commit the same horrific crime over and over, because no one wants to listen or believe the victims, especially if they are poor and uneducated. And Courtney Summers really illustrates that point so very beautifully throughout Sadie. Because our own world proves every day that people would rather believe powerful men over loud girls. But Sadie takes action into her own hands, and reclaims her power, her body, and her heart, along with getting her vengeance. And it is one of the best journeys I’ve ever experienced.

“Sometimes I don’t know what I miss more; everything I’ve lost or everything I never had.”

I also want to talk a little bit about the representation in Sadie. First off, Sadie has a very severe stutter. I didn’t know this going in, and as a matter of fact I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the main character has a stutter before, but it was perfection. Heartbreaking perfection though, because seeing Sadie unable to get the worlds out when she was feeling extreme anger or sadness was so heart wrenching. But Sadie always got the words out, and she always got her hurt across, and it was so beautifully done. Also, I know the scene is brief, but Sadie is so not straight, if anything she sounds rather pan to me. Lastly, Sadie has some of the most realistic poverty rep I’ve ever read, and I still feel like in 2018 that is something that is hard to find.

And I obviously think Sadie is a masterpiece of a story, and the themes are so important and relevant, but I think the biggest reason I loved this book so much was because I felt so connected to Sadie because of what she felt for Mattie. I will be completely honest with you all, I wouldn’t want to live in a world without my little brother. Me and my brother are a bit closer in age than Mattie and Sadie, and we were never abused or neglected, but the pure unconditional love that Sadie feels for Mattie, and how responsible and protective she felt, it was so pure and so realistic and just completely ripped out my heart and left me feeling so raw and vulnerable. I would do anything in the universe to protect my little brother, and I feel like I fell in love with this book just because Sadie’s love for her sister resonated so strongly in my very soul. There is a line in this book about Sadie feeling alive when her sister comes home from the hospital, and how she laid a hand on her baby sister’s chest and felt her breathing, and I was uncontrollably weeping while reading it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the love I have for my brother depicted so closely than to that passage, and I know I will carry that inside my heart forever.

“I stood over her crib and listened to her breathing, watching the rise and fall of her tiny chest. I pressed my palm against it and felt myself through her. She was breathing, alive. And I was too.”

Overall, this book just really meant a lot to me. And even though this book is heartbreaking, it has some of the most beautiful quotes I’ve read all year. I read it with tears in my eyes for at least half, but I wouldn’t trade this reading experience for anything. And I am now going to read every single thing Courtney Summers has created. I truly loved this one, and I recommend it with my entire heart and soul, especially if you have a close sibling relationship, if you enjoy murder mystery podcasts, and if you also want to change the world so that more victims’ voices not only get heard but get believed.

Lastly, I want anyone who needs to hear it to know two things: First, if you need to talk to someone, RAINN is always there. They are completely confidential, and available 24/7. You can also call 800.656.HOPE at any time, too. Secondly, I believe you and your voice deserves to be heard and believed.

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Buddy read with Ashwini at bookwormmuse! ❤

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

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“In Innis Lear it was believed that the reign of the last queen had been predicted by the stars–and had ended, too, because of them.”

This is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear unlike any reimagining I’ve ever read before. Tessa Gratton stays very true to the original play, and really makes a feminist statement on all the themes, but she made something so unique, so powerful, and so much its own thing. And every book I read from her ensures that she is becoming one of my favorite authors of all-time. From the themes she creates, to the lyrical writing she weaves, to the beautiful stories she creates, I five star everything by her. And The Queens of Innis Lear was no different, it is a masterpiece.

King Lear is a story about a king who is ready to give up his throne to his three daughters, but they must prove that they are worthy and devoted. But the sisters decide to take their destinies into their own hands, whether that means betrayal of the King or not. And we slowly get to see the king descend into madness. And, again, The Queens of Innis Lear sticks very close to this storyline, too.

Gaela – the oldest daughter – represents ambition. Is a military commander.

“I will wear the crown, and I will get it like a king. Not as a mother and wife, but as the firstborn child, as the strongest.”

Regan – the middle daughter – represents lust. Wants to be a mother.

“The crown of Innis Lear is not made of love […] it is made of dying stars, and lying mouths.”

Elia – the youngest daughter – represents duty. Loves the island of Lear more than anything.

“You’re not the sum of your birth and stars.”

And these three girls, and everyone they’ve ever been in contact with, have had their fate decided by the stars. And they learned this the hard way from their mother, who was destined to die once Gaela turned to sixteen. In this world, the stars are blamed for people’s actions, so that they don’t have to be responsible for the horrible things that happen.

But ultimately this is a story about three girls battling against the futures that their father and the stars have in store for them. These girls are more than the legacy’s that are expected of them. They are more than the sins committed for them and in their name. People with wombs are more than those wombs and the babies they are able to carry inside them. And people are always more than good and bad, because we are complex beings with complex thoughts and actions. Seriously, this the morally grey character book of your dreams.

There are many more characters who equally broke and warmed my heart; Ban, the fox of the forest, Morimaros, the king who has only known how to be king, Brona, the witch of my dreams, and so many more. This is a full cast of players, set up on a stage that they never asked for. And this book inserts flashbacks more perfectly than maybe any other book I’ve ever read. And it creates a storyline that is complete magic.

“Maybe all three of us are cursed. Maybe this is the end of the kingdom of Lear, and the island will become something new. Maybe we never did belong here after all.”

I also want to take a second to talk about the representation. It is heavily implied that Gaela is aroace, but the word is never used on page. And I feel like every side character was implied to be pan or bi. Also, all the princesses are people of color, said to be biracial (black and white).

Overall, I just loved this. I never wanted to put it down. From the beautiful writing, to the important themes, to the enthralling story, this was just a masterpiece. I will say that this very much reads true to an Adult Fantasy, and the writing can be a bit unforgiving at times, but it is so worth it.

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Content and trigger warnings for miscarrying, domestic abuse, thoughts of suicide, suicide, self-harm, grooming, murder, death, blood depictions, rituals, animal deaths, and war themes.

Buddy read with Riley, Amy, Caidyn, Alex, & Jules! ❤

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Stories 1 – 8) by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman, & Kelly Link

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels ★
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★
6.) City of Heavenly Fire ★★★★★
*.) The Bane Chronicles ★★★
*.) Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy ★★★
1.) Lady Midnight ★★★★★
2.) Lord of Shadows ★★★★

Hey, friends! Okay, so I am just too hyped to keep talking about all things that involve the Shadowhunter world, with Queen of Air and Darkness coming out in TEN DAYS! Holy moly, the blessings! I honestly haven’t been so excited for a new release in years. You all also know that I have been reading everything in this world for the last six months, so I know this book is going to literally be the cherry on an already delicious cupcake! (And your girl is hungry!)

I do want to say that Ghosts of the Shadow Market is scheduled to come out in June of 2019, and will include ten stories in total, but only eight have been released singly so far! Therefore, I am not going to give this collection a total star rating, I’m just going to let you know my individual star rating for each story separately, then come release I will do more in-depth and full review, that will also include the two stories that haven’t been released yet! But I hope this post gets you all hyped, because I can’t wait to read the final Dark Artifices book with the entire community in just a few more days!


Son of the Dawn – ★★★★

“Every world contains other worlds within it.”

It is official, The New York City Shadow Market is the coolest one we’ve seen so far? Abandoned theater? Ahhh, the aesthetics. But this story takes place in 2000, and I will be honest with you all, I sure in the hell wasn’t expecting a story about how Jace came to join the Lightwood family. Damn, my emotions are all over the place, because seeing Raphael alone makes me weep. Also, I think it was really smart for Cassie Clare to show us a “good” side of Robert Lightwood, especially after finishing Lord of Shadows. Also, all that talk of parabatai bonds? Lord, help us all. But I think my sappy self cried hardest over two initials. Okay, I know this brief review is all over the place, but this was such an unexpected treat and I was smiling while reading this entire story. From Izzy watching Alec discover who he is, to me crying even more over Max, to Jace being Jace even at a young age, to Lily Chen actually making me laugh out loud, to me screaming at seeing Raphael confirming that he is ace, I love all of this. And even just seeing Raphael come to Brother Zachariah for help and to go on what ends up being such a meaningful adventure, that really impacts all their lives eventually, it was just amazing. I really loved this short story and I think it was such an amazing glimpse at the past, that really makes you appreciate the future so much more.


Cast Long Shadows – ★★

“Old sins cast long shadows.”

Okay, I’m still hyped for The Last Hours though, but I think it is mostly for James Herondale, even though Matthew Fairchild is such a little sweetheart. I loved seeing him interact with Brother Zachariah, and loving him just because so many of his loved ones love him. I love that feeling, and I think that’s something in life that I experience a lot that books rarely depict. But in this short story takes place in London 1901, and we get to see Matthew dealing with something that’s really bothering him, while willing to do anything to find out the truth. Oh, and Alastair Carstairs is such a little jerk, but I know Cassie is going to give him a homelife (and a father, I think) that is going to make us feel a lot of empathy toward him. But why the hell is Sophie (my queen, still) and Gideon’s kid friends with him? Yet, I love seeing Henry’s disability rep, I love seeing Charlotte say fuck your misogyny to the Clave, and I just love seeing all these glimpses at old friendships that we already love, but also all the new glimpses at what is to come. And seeing Jem, Will, and Tessa living their lives after Clockwork Princess will never not equal parts break my heart and heal my soul. And yeah, I’m still crying over that staff. Lord, help me.


Every Exquisite Thing – ★★★★

“Foolish people say so many things. But we know who we are…”

Anna Lightwood deserves the entire galaxy and all the stars within it, please spread the word. Like, the child of Cecily and Gabriel is a true blessing to the Shadowhunter universe. And the end of this made me happier than any other Shadowhunter short story I’ve ever read. In short, this story is love letter to nonbinary people, and we get to follow Anna embracing being a genderfluid lesbian. Even though everyone knows that queer people existed all throughout history, this story highlights how it was harder to come out back in the 1900s. But seeing Anna live their best life was everything and it warmed my heart so very much. And, again, Cassie Clare is just being more and more inclusive and she impresses me so very much. And there is f/f romance in this story, too! But the heart of this story is identity and being the person you are on the inside on the outside, too. Okay, I’m done gushing; this story we also get to see Anna and Matthew explore the London nightlife and meet a woman named Leopolda in a club and bring to ask a few questions. And soon, them and Brother Zachariah are trying to figure out what she’s up to. And I think that we are soon going to get a lot more background story on Tessa, and I cannot wait for The Last Hours, friends. It is going to be so amazing, and now Anna is going to make me even more excited!


Learn about Loss – ★★★★

“I want you to give them both a span of time. Both of them in a time and place where they can be young and happy and together.”

Current mood: Forever weeping over the masterpiece that is the end of this short story. You all, Will and Jem will always be best friend goals, and honestly are the definition of platonic unconditional pure love. (I mean, I won’t go into my polyamorous wants because Cassie Clare didn’t bless us!) But friends, this story just has a lot in it that I really appreciated. And I loved this dark carnival Shadow Market. This story is set in 1936 Tennessee, during the end of the Great Depression, and not only do we follow Brother Zachariah, but also the soon-to-be Iron Sister, Emilia, who easily stole my heart. And Sister Emilia’s promise? Goosebumps. Perfection. Also, I think these stories are really going to make an impact for QoAaD.


A Deeper Love – ★★★

“…those two twin souls, the only souls she had ever loved.”

Friends, I was not expecting a WWII story set in London that starred Tessa Gray and Catarina Loss working as nurses. But oh my gosh, it was so beautifully and hauntingly unexpected. And there is still a Shadow Market that they bargain at, but even the paranormal war is impacted (both positively and negatively) by war. And Brother Zachariah just happens to be at the Shadow Market, where bombs are dropping from the sky, while he gets into his own altercation with a fae who thinks he is meddling in affairs that do not involve him. And I believe the point of this story was that we get to see that weapon poison that Julian and Emma deal with in Lady Midnight. I also cried for probably a third of this just because Brother Zachariah and Tessa both dealing with loss, while healing and living with love, just guts me every time. It’s so pure, and so hopefully, and just gives me all the feelings under the sun. The power of love is something so strong, and this story just left me in awe, honestly.


The Wicked Ones – ★★★

“They’d both given a piece of their hearts to a Herondale. And they both loved someone they could not have.”

Oh, boy. So, this story is set in 1989 Paris, where we meet a young girl named Céline and get to see the uprising of Valentine. Céline has constantly run away from her abusive home, and the parents that torture her and call it love. And when she was eight years old, she ran away and felt safe and at home for the very first time – at the Paris Shadow Market. But in this story we see her almost ten years later, and she is desperately trying to feel welcome with Valentine and his elite crew. And she is also realizing she is completely and utterly in love with Stephen Herondale. But while this is going on, Brother Zachariah is in search of a lost necklace and a lost child. This story really dives deep into how manipulative people can gaslight to get what they want, and will always try to isolate people and convince them that what they are doing is in their best interest. It is always really interesting to see the rise and fall of Valentine Morgenstern, but this story just made me feel really sad for Amatis and for another child who has yet to be born.


The Land I Lost – ★★★★★

“Your voice is the music I love best in all the world.”

First and foremost, it is very obvious that Lily Chen is not straight, but Cassie Clare confirmed on Tumblr that she is pan! The blessings. The actual blessings. Also, hello, my new favorite character. Lily is half Japanese and half Chinese, and was made a vampire under the saddest of circumstances. And her love for Raphael Santiago warms my black heart like nothing else in the entire Shadowhunter world. And even though I could go on forever about my love for her, this story is more about her and Alec going to the Buenos Aires Institute together because Jem and Tessa are in need of help, and someone requested Alec personally. This story is actually pretty dark, so content and trigger warnings for abandonment, captivity, sex trafficking, sex slavery, and war themes. Nothing is graphic, but it is very much talked about, so please use caution. But Alec soon finds out that the Buenos Aires Institute is being heavily influenced by Horace Dearborn, and they are allowing children whose parents were killed in the Dark War to be orphans living on the street, just because they are Downworlders. Alec then comes across a Shadowhunter child who they are also unwilling to help, and the other Downworlders are too scared to bring in, therefore he must take action. You all, this novella was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Seeing Magnus and Alec be such good fathers to Max, and then adopting their second child, Rafe, it is something I don’t even have words for. And they are allowing their children to be whatever they want to be, Warlock or Shadowhunter, and will never stop giving them unconditional love. Even just seeing glimpses of Jace and Izzy being an uncle and an aunt had me smiling so big! It is a joy to read, pure joy. But we learn so much during this longer addition to the anthology, too. All the information we got of/from Mother Hawthorn? Damn.


Through Blood, Through Fire – ★★★★

“But we bear so much that seems unthinkable. The only truly unbearable burden is living without love.”

Okay, I won’t lie, even though I have loved watching Brother Zachariah go on this quest of finding the lost Herondale, I feel like it is my least favorite aspect of this anthology. And even though this short story gave us major insight on Rosemary and Jack, it wasn’t a big surprise after reading The Wicked Ones. But then, once the story catches up to the events at the end of Lady Midnight, and Tessa drops the REAL information of this story. You all, my jaw dropped. And my eyes? The tears won’t stop coming after that last paragraph. Wow, the blessings. The happiness. The everything. Queen of Air and Darkness can’t come soon enough.



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Buddy read with Lea at drumsofautumn! ❤