Down the TBR Hole #14

Down the TBR Hole was originally created by Lost in a Story! The point of it is to help cull your reading lists down, or maybe push higher anticipated releases up on your TBR! And maybe you all can help me along the way, and tell me if you’ve loved or hated any of these!


How it works:
➽ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
➽ Order on ascending date added.
➽ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
➽ Read the synopses of the books
➽ Decide: keep it or should it go?


I feel like we are finally getting into “newer” books, even though I still added these at the start of 2017. But yeah, it only took us fourteen posts to get to some relevancy across the board!

The Six Books:

Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones
Okay, here is the thing, I am so incredibly drawn to this book it is actually ridiculous! Yet, so many people who I love and trust absolutely hate this book! So, I think that’s what has kept me from picking it up! But I own it, I’m drawn to it, and I need to just go with my gut and read it!
Verdict: Keep ✅

One Blood Ruby (Seven Black Diamonds #2) by Melissa Marr
I know I talk about Holly Black a lot and how she made me fall in love with all things Fae, but so did Melissa Marr! And I really enjoyed book one in this series! So, I’m not sure what the hold up is, but I need to read this!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1) by Bradley P. Beaulieu
This is such a beloved series among my friends. I also got an ARC of a later book in the series, so I really need to tackle this one soon. And I have the highest of hopes that I will love this!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Veiled Intentions (The Dragon’s Blade #2) by Michael R. Miller
I loved this first book when I read it too long ago! I totally want to jump back into this world and then even read on past this book! Someone, please, give me more time! *Sings Hamilton for the rest of the day*
Verdict: Keep ✅

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection by Brandon Sanderson
This is another anthology that I’ve read half or more of! I just need to sit down and read all the rest. Also, some of the stories in this collection have honestly been perfection and life changing. I know the unread ones are going to be phenomenal as well!
Verdict: Keep ✅

The Seven Princes of the Thousand Year Labyrinth Vol. 3 by Aikawa Yu & Atori Haruno
Friends, this is one of my favorite mangas of all time. I can’t believe I haven’t bought this or read this. When I started this series only one and two were available for purchase in the US, and I guess I just let three and four slip my mind. But I need to rectify this immediately!
Verdict: Keep ✅


Holy shit, it also took us fourteen posts to finally get one where I kept all six books! What a damn miracle! Okay, friends, these are the next oldest six books I have on my TBR! Let me know if you love, hate, and/or recommend me to read or trash any of these books! Thank you all so much, and I hope you’re having the happiest of reading, loves! 💛🎃👻

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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

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ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

“Deciding to spend your life together shouldn’t be a surprise”

I loved The Wedding Date earlier this year, and when I found out that this was going to star one of the side characters I knew I couldn’t resist putting in an ARC request. This was a joy to read, from the first page to the last. Both of Jasmine’s books have been so intelligently, beautifully, and masterfully crafted.

The Proposal is an ownvoices novel that follows a woman who is completely blindsided by a marriage proposal at Dodger Stadium. Yet, before the camera crews come in to make a terrible situation even worse, she is saved by a stranger in the stands, and his sister.

Nikole Paterson – Black, freelance journalist, and the woman who just got surprise proposed to after only five months of dating her partner.

Carlos Ibarra – Latino, pediatrician, the stranger in the stands that we already were introduced to in The Wedding Date.

And we get to see these two build a friendship, and maybe something more, after everything went down at Dodger Stadium. Neither one of them are at a point in their life where they are willing to start something new, but they have each other’s backs and prove that they are there for one another.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Nik and Carlos with my whole heart, but Nik’s friends almost stole the show for me in this novel. Dana is an actress, black, and a lesbian, and has the freakin’ cutest f/f side romance ever. Like, please, I need a full-length novel right this second. And Courtney is a cupcake shop owner, Asian, and plus sized. And I think I had a smile from ear-to-ear every time she was on the page. Seriously, Nik, Dana, and Courtney are the definition of friendship goals and it was a joy to read.

But probably my favorite thing in this book were the seamlessly woven important themes. There was also such a subtle, yet loud, message about how easy it is to not realize you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. And sometimes you don’t start to realize until you are completely secluded from your friends and family. Yet, it also shows that there always can be ways out, even if you have to wait a while, and that it is never too late once you realize when someone is being abusive.

There was also such a beautiful discussion about how important it is to reclaim your safety after you have been violated or felt that it was threatened. Throughout this story, we see Nik take those steps, and it just meant a lot to me, personally. I also loved how she had friends helping along the way.

The reason I did end up giving this four stars, and not five, was because I felt like Carlos acted a little questionably at the end. Trust me, it pains me to say, because I do love him so much. Yet, with the way he and Nik met, you would think that he would understand how she would react to a (quicker) repeat. I’m trying to be vague, but his actions just left me side-eyeing a little at the end, and just dampened my enjoyment overall.

Yet, I still loved this book, and I think Jasmine Guillory is such an impressive author. I can’t wait to read any and everything she writes. The romance world just needs more books like The Proposal and The Wedding Date! I completely recommend this one!


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The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for public humiliation, racist comments (always in a negative light and challenged), talk of past emotional abuse, brief assault (slap on the butt), talk of past loss of a loved one, brief mention of child abuse, brief mention of past miscarriage, and pregnancy complications.

Buddy Read with Lilly, Stephanie, & Leigh! ❤

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

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(My amazing friend Madalyn, at Novel Ink, gave this to me as a birthday gift!) 💖

“Of all the stories about my family, the Fernweh women and the island of By-the-Sea, there are two that no one will ever forget. One is the story of how my sister, Mary, and I were born. And the other is the story of the summer we turned eighteen. This summer.”

This was nothing short of a beautiful delight to read. This was moving, and powerful, and magical, and sweet, yet also heartbreaking. This reads like a mix between Girl Made of Stars and The Wicked Deep, and if you love either (bonus points for both) then you will completely love this story, too!

This book is set on a very small island, where Georgina and Mary’s graduating class only consisted of 30ish kids. This summer is not only Georgina and Mary’s eighteenth birthday, but it is also the last summer before they leave the island for the first time to go away to college. Their mother runs the inn that has been in their family for many generations. Yet, no one really stays until the summer solstice, when a magical bird comes to the island and attracts so many tourists.

Georgina – Our main character, a lesbian, and a witch who has not discovered her power(s).
Mary – Georgina’s twin sister, who has already discovered that her power allows her to float in midair.
Vira – Georgina’s best friend, who works at the local ice cream parlor, who is aroace, and my freakin’ favorite.
Prue – Visiting the island, bisexual, and has feelings for Georgina.
Harrison – Prue’s brother, who has come to the island to see a bird that appears every summer.
Annabella – The magical, one of a kind, bird, who also might be somehow related to Georgina and Mary.

“I think a person can be a home, sometimes, just as much as a place or a house can.”

The entire island, and all of these character’s lives change when Annabella doesn’t make her annual arrival to the island. Georgina makes it her mission to not only find out what happened to Annabella, but also what happened to her sister, Mary, because she is acting really depressed and secretive. Georgina also is trying to figure out if she will never manifest any magical abilities like most of the women in her family, and she is also realizing that maybe she has real feelings for someone visiting the island this summer.

Yet, this book also has a darker message about rape and rape culture and the topic is laced throughout the entire story, so please use caution. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship with the person. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex before. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. It doesn’t matter what you’ve said before. It doesn’t matter any circumstances; if it’s not consensual then it is rape. Rape culture is so real, so apparent, and so very much thriving in 2018. And for anyone who needs it, especially right now: I believe you.

“Because there was nothing in a girl’s history that might negate her right to choose what happens to her body.”

This is also a story about sisterhood, and unconditional love, and it discusses the sacrifices that we are willing to make to help the ones we love. This is a book about sexuality and those moments when you feel so validated and you feel like you are finally the person you’ve always wanted to be. This is a book about community, and found family, and respecting your family heritage, culture, and customs.

“How I would miss you—every part of you—but especially the smell, always the smell: of salt, of brine, of water, of spells, or potions, or feathers, and of what it would mean to leave it all in just two months.”

Overall, I just loved this. I think it’s the perfect blend of light and dark. It feels so whimsical since witchcraft is delicately folded in to this story, but it feels so hard-hitting and realistic, too. The messages, discussions, and themes are important and life changing. The characters feel completely fleshed out and I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them. Plus, the f/f romance in this was magnificent and gave me all the feels. And this story is written so very lyrically, that I never wanted it to end, because I wanted to stay on this island with these characters forever. I truly loved this, and I think it’s one of the best 2018 publications. I recommend it with my entire heart and soul.

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Content and trigger warnings for off page rape and sexual assault, mention of drugging people without them knowing (not in a date rape way, but it still felt bad to read), underage drinking, drug use, anxiety depictions, and an animal death.

Buddy read with Taryn at Taryn and Her Books! ❤

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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“You found me in a constellation.”

Friends, I loved this story. And if the ending was a little different, this would have been such an easy five star read. I love books centered on creators on the internet. While reading this, I was constantly reminded of one my favorite books of all time, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. Which, I’m not really sure if here is any higher praise than to be compared to that book.

But basically, this book is all about putting yourself out there, carving yourself a little home on the internet, and feeling like you belong, even if your life offline isn’t the easiest to understand. And this book follows two characters very invested with the same fandom

Eliza Mirk – AKA: LadyConstellation, creator of one of the biggest webcomics online, Monstrous Sea.

Wallace Warland – The new boy that just joined Eliza’s school halfway through senior year. Oh, and Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer.

“You wrote back…”

Eliza and Wallace’s paths inevitably cross, and he begins to share with her the fanfiction transcribes of the webcomic she has secretly created. And these two meeting offline was one of the most heartwarming things I’ve read all year, even though Wallace has no idea just how much Eliza is invested in this fandom. I think there is just something so beautiful about how accepting and understanding they were of the times that it’s hard to talk, or that it’s almost too much to talk. Honestly, seeing them write back and forth together, side by side, gives me more feelings than I have words for. But I loved it and thought it was so very beautiful.

This book is a love letter to the power of healing that friendships can truly have. Yet, also the healing power of fandoms and celebrating your love for something with others. The magic of finding a person you can be yourself, your true self, no masks, no fakeness, no lies, it’s something that I can’t put into words. But seeing Eliza and Wallace experience that was perfection.

But this is a story about art and how sharing your art is truly like sharing a piece of your heart. And this book really talks about how scary that can be! Yet, also how your art can inspire so many others’ art and it really can create such a beautiful cycle.

And not to bring up Radio Silence constantly, but this book also touches upon how school isn’t for everyone, no matter what people try to make you think. That there isn’t some magical step program of getting good grades in school that will lead you to an amazing university on a full-paid scholarship, which will obviously lead you to the perfect job where you will become filthy rich and experience nonstop happiness! People have so many paths they can choose from, and so many paths that are right and wrong for them. And that’s beautiful and that’s okay.

“She drew so many monsters that she became a monster herself.”

Overall, I loved this book. Fandoms and having an online presence are things that I think I’ll always enjoy reading about, because it’s something very close to my heart. I will say that Wallace’s behavior at the end of this book, and the reason why he wanted Eliza to overcome it all, was just off-putting. But besides that, I loved this book. It made me soft, and warm, and ever so thankful to every single person who reads my reviews and interacts with me. Seriously, you all make me feel so blessed every single day and bring me more happiness than I can measure.


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Content and trigger warnings for suicidal thoughts, talk of past suicide, panic attacks, abandonment, minor bullying, talk of past loss of loved ones, grief depictions, and depression depictions.

❤ I read this for Contemporary-a-thon!

Top Ten Tuesday | Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

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! Oh my gosh, I love this week’s topic so much! I’ve read a lot of SFF in my day, which means I’ve inadvertently read some big tomes along the way! And this was so much fun to sort on my Goodreads read shelf, and see what books were the biggest ones I’ve read! And I’ll be honest, I feel like I deserve a gold star at the very least! 📚🍂


➽ Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson
1243 pages


➽ Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson
1087 pages


➽ Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
1037 pages


➽ A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R.R. Martin
1016 pages


➽ The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
1007 pages


➽ Cocktales Anthology edited by Penny Reid
998 pages


➽ The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
994 pages


➽ A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George R.R. Martin
975 pages


➽ Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon
896 pages


➽ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling
870 pages


Okay, friends! There you have it! What is the biggest book that you’ve read? Have you read any of the ten that I have? I’d like to take a moment and thank Brandon Sanderson and GRRM! Haha! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week, and I’m wishing you happy reading always! 🍁📖

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The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

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This was my pick for the August 2018 Book of the Month box!

“I love you, but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy.”

Friends, I wanted to love this so much. And at first, this really did feel like watching a lucid dream play out, and I felt so enthralled and captivated! But as time went on, I just cared less and less about the dinner, about the past, and about this book.

The Dinner List is a play on the conversation starter of which five people would you bring to a dinner party, dead or alive? And our main character, Sabrina, is living that reality on her thirtieth birthday this December. We get thrown into a present day restaurant with her and the five people she chose, while the chapters alternate between her past and a romance that has completely consumed her life for almost a decade.

Audrey Hepburn -I mean, she’s pretty self-explanatory. But besides being Sabrina’s namesake, her movies also held a high importance in some pivotal moments in Sabrina’s life.
Professor Conrad – A college professor who I guess made a big impact on her. I’ll be honest, I kept waiting for “more” with this dinner guest choice.
Robert – The father that she never knew, because he left when she was little.
Jessica – Her best friend throughout most of her life.
Tobias – The greatest love of her life. And again, this story is truly about why he is at this dinner and why they aren’t currently together.

“But it’s also not an easy thing to be married to darkness. Eventually I dimmed so far I extinguished.”

Yet, the constant theme of this book is fate and how a ripple effect can really change our lives because of a few choices we made while not really even thinking. I mean, I know this is true of my life, and I’m sure for most of you. Yet, we get to see Sabrina’s play out more and more between each alternating chapter.

As I read through more and more of the story, I felt more captivated by the chapters set in the past and found the present dinner chapters much less enjoyable. Especially with the friend Jessica. I honestly started to hate her towards the end of the book, which I’m not sure will be a mutual feeling with more readers, or not.

I mean, this entire book is trying to talk about how none of us are perfect, and how we all make mistakes. But, man, Jessica just felt like such a bad friend throughout this entire novel. Like, she had no redeeming qualities for me, like everyone else at the table did.

“All we needed was to stay this close. Right up against each other, without any space between us. If we did that, we were good. It was just the world—with all its loud chaos, its demands and people and air—that made us fight…””

But I will also be honest and say that I disliked Sabrina and Tobias more, too. I feel like this just really isn’t the healthiest depiction of love. And I get that love can be messy, and complicated, and hard to even put into words, but you have to be happy. You can’t keep settling, over and over, because you’re scared of upsetting your partner. I will say that I don’t even know what Sabrina ever truly wanted, but I never once thought her and Tobias had anything remotely healthy. Sex and cuddling are important, but you have to be able to count on the person you’re sharing your life with. And that doesn’t have an age limit and shouldn’t be glossed over like, “oh they just don’t want to grow up!” I’ve seen sixteen-year-olds in healthier relationships than them. And you never, ever, have to lose something to know it’s worth and value. Miss me with that garbage thinking.

Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. And I hope if you pick it up that you’ll enjoy it more than I did. I also recommend reading this in close to one or two sittings for a better experience. I almost think me putting it down for fifty pages at a time did me a disservice even more, since the story really does have a “dream like” quality to it, and I was probably making it feel more jarring than it needed to be.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for abandonment, talk of alcoholism, talk of cheating, talk of miscarrying, talk of unhealthy dieting, talk of cancer, and loss of a loved one.

Buddy read with Caidyn at BW Reviews! ❤

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels

“You are a Shadowhunter. You serve a greater cause. Your life is not yours to throw away.”

Friends, this is the highest four star rating. Like, I almost want to give this book five stars because I enjoyed the last 25% so damn much. This is easily my favorite Cassie Clare book yet, and I truly had such a wonderful time reading.

This is the second installment in this history prequel series that stars a young girl named Tessa, who has traveled to London from America, who was trying to find her brother in Clockwork Angel! Well, she found him, and this book is dealing with the ramifications of what she found out. Yet, this book is also about Tessa trying to carve out a place for herself in a world that is unfamiliar to her in so many ways, while also trying to learn about her true past and who she wants to be in the future.

Okay, my review is going to touch on a couple key things that happened in this book and things that have happened in previous books, so please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and its predecessors! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book.

Tessa Gray – Poor Tessa got so many big puzzle pieces about her life handed to her in this book. And she is truly believing that her father was a demon, which could completely be true and really intrigues me. I mean, I would personally be upset that he wasn’t from fae lineage, but what can you do?

“I was born into this world to love you, and I will love you in the next life, and the one after that.”

Jem Carstairs – Jem is my favorite character in this series. He’s biracial, Chinese and British, living with a terminal illness, and just the sweetest character in all of literature! And I know without question he would be the one that I pick, even if he’s not the one that I’d pick for Tessa. Also, I’ve dated enough rude and brooding boys to last me (and Tessa) a lifetime.

“I have wanted to do this,” he said, “every moment of every hour of every day that I have been with you since the day I met you. But you know that. You must know. Don’t you?”

Will Herondale – Even though Jem is on the cover of this book, I feel like this was Will’s book. We learned so much about him and we finally get to see what happened to him five years ago. Honestly, I love Will, and even though I won’t completely excuse the gross things he said at the end of Clockwork Angel, I understand him and appreciate him. (If only I could feel the same about Jace! Lord, help me!)

Charlotte Branwell – So happy for her! I honestly love how determined she is for herself, but also how proud and supportive she is of her found family. I love this house mom, forever.

Henry Branwell – So happy for him! He’s alright, but I like him because Charlotte loves him!

Sophie Collins – Again, Sophie is an MVP for me in this book too. I really loved her in Clockwork Angel, and that love only grew in this one. I really hope she keeps remembering her worth, regardless of what happens with boys in higher stations. And I really hope she gets to become a Shadowhunter or something, because she’s just lovely, and brave, and I feel so much joy every time I read a scene with her!

Benedict Lightwood – Please don’t be a dick, don’t be a dick, don’t be a dick.

Magnus Bane – Magnus, my Asian and bi baby, legit had me rereading paragraphs from laughing in this book. Seriously, such a fantastic character. And such a caring character, who just makes this world so much brighter. I’m looking so very forward to his novellas.

Camille Belcourt – So thankful that I read City of Fallen Angels, only because it made me appreciate everything that happened between Magnus and Will that made Camille tell Alec the things she believes. Like, friends, I was laughing out loud.

Jessamine Lovelace – This bitch. You all, I knew she was trouble, I just didn’t know how much. But I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if she gets a redemption arc.

Nate Gray – Like, what a lame and pointless character. Seriously. But like, now I want to know everything about Tessa’s necklace.

Axel Mortmain – Where the fuck is this man? For real?

Like I said above, this is my favorite Cassie Clare to date! I just feel like this book took on a much darker and more mature theme, while also blending in some amazing adventure and all that good angst! I truly feel like the romance in this is one of my all-time favorites, and that’s really saying something. I just never wanted to put this book down, and I was always smiling (or crying) while reading it. This was nothing short of a treat to read.

The romance in this book was actually incredible. I kept complaining on bookstagram at 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, that this isn’t a love triangle and that its so obvious that Tessa only feels platonically for Jem. Then after that 40% mark, my world completely shifted. Friends, this is one of my favorite love triangles of all time.

I will say that I can completely understand how people can see issue with Tessa maybe feeling obligated to start something with Jem because he is dying. And obviously that’s a really terrible position to be in and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but I truly believed by the end of this book that Tessa does have genuine feelings for Jem. Even if I also believe with my entire heart that those feelings are stronger for Will.

“When she closed her eyes, she saw Jem’s face, and then Will’s, his hand to his bloody mouth. Thoughts of the two of them swirled together in her head until she fell asleep finally, not sure if she was dreaming of kissing one of them, or the other.”

You all are going to read this paragraph and you’re all going to be like “it’s not that deep, Melanie!” But I really do think that Clockwork Prince is a love letter to all the different types of love that we will have in our lives. From just friendships and wanting to support and love them unconditionally, and how magical it is when we find our own found family. To romantic love, which is that gut wrenching, pure bliss, that we don’t even have words to express, but how we don’t feel truly whole without those people/that person. And to all that messy love in-between. Even though I don’t feel the romantic love between Tess and Jem as much as I do between Tessa and Will, that doesn’t make the love lesser and it definitely doesn’t make it any less real.

“Could you really love two different people at once? Could you split your heart in half?”

And I believe with my whole heart that these three main characters should start a polyamorous relationship. These three individuals love each other so much that it just feels right, maybe even obvious, that they should be a triad or a vee. Because being in a polyamorous relationship doesn’t mean it has to be about sex. I mean, it could be, but it also means being there emotionally for your two partners, too. And even though I do believe that they should all be in a relationship with each other, they could also just both be in a relationship with Tessa and it would still be valid and pure and everything I’ve ever wanted. Cassie Clare, hear my prayers.

“I cannot explain love,” he said. “I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you. That you were the center of everything I did and felt and thought.”

Okay, so something else I want to talk about is Tessa being a warlock! Like, Magnus is immortal, and we are seeing him constantly throughout The Mortal Instruments, but I’d just like to point out that I haven’t seen Tessa. So, friends, I’m scared. I’m real scared. I also know everyone talks about how heartbreaking the final book is, but I think it’s going to be even more heartbreaking than I’m anticipating.

Overall, I loved this book. Easily my favorite Cassie Clare book, yet! Again, I just want to say a big thank you to all for motivating me to pick this up, and for not spoiling me for anything. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long without being spoiled to anything, but it’s truly making my reading experience so much greater! And I can’t wait until I finally uncover every secret and can gush with you all forever over this world! I can’t wait to read Clockwork Princess, I just wish I didn’t have to read City of Lost Souls first!


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Content and trigger warnings for death, murder, loss of a loved one, talk of past torture, abandonment, talk of chronic illness, grey area consent of a kiss, grey area cheating, drug use, talk of suicide, and self-harm.

Buddy read with Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤