The Overwhelming Book Sale

As a bookfluencer(™) *cringes*, book lover, and overall hoarder of books, it is important to me that I get good deals on my collection. See, the thing is, I’m not just buying books for myself. I also like to buy books for my children, my husband, and I look for books to donate to a local veteran foundation. Obtaining a deal on books is an essential part of me maintaining my budget, too.

Recently, my mother-in-law and I decided to head up to Milwaukee for a huge Half Price Books blowout sale. Everything – literally everything, including vinyls – was $2.00 or less. Honestly, it would have been foolish NOT to go to this sale.

The thing is, it was actually really overwhelming. Let me paint a picture for you.

You walk into a big warehouse on the fairgrounds. There are hundreds of people swarming tables of books, flocking to sections with carts, baskets, bags, and strollers. There is limited room between each table; as you approach and get a closer look at the table, you notice there is no real organization to the tables. Books are scattered across every available surface and there are boxes filled with more books under every table. The closer you get to the section you want, the more you notice the lack of organization. You find a children’s chapter book mixed in with young adult novels. You start to wonder “how will I find what I’m looking for?”

The more you browse, the more foolish you feel for having brought a list with you, so you stuff your list into your pocket and just go for it.

Clear enough picture? Regardless, I’m still going to explain why exactly this book sale was overwhelming.

Alphabetization

Have you ever been to a HPB store? If you have, you no doubt know their books are organized alphabetically by author’s last name and also by genre. At this book sale, they tried to clump books together into categories (i.e. Young Adult, Fiction, History), but they did not attempt to group anything together. As I browsed through the YA section, I kept stumbling upon children’s chapter books (i.e. Junie B. Jones, Ramona and Beezus, etc) which was simultaneously frustrating and delightful.

It was frustrating because I was browsing YA for specific titles, but couldn’t find anything I was really looking for specifically because there was no sort of organization. I’m not looking for alphabetization, but I would have loved if books were actually grouped together by topic. For instance, I found several Cassie Clare books spread across 6 different tables. Just. Put. Them. All. Together.

The main reason I wasn’t furious about the children’s chapter books mixed in is that I was able to find some of my childhood favorites mixed into the bunch.

People, people, people

I am the type of person who is easily affected by others. Meaning, the actions of a few people can potentially ruin my day simply because I let them. There was two women at this book sale who had the potential to ruin my day. Let me explain why…

I had a cart, but I am the type of person who is courteous of others and aware of myself and others situationally. I kept my cart out of other people’s ways and I made sure I wasn’t blocking anyone’s paths constantly. However, there was one person who approached me, cart stacked to the brim with books. They looked me right in the eye and said, “Could you move, please?” I was pretty taken aback by the brusqueness of the question – why would they not just say “excuse me?” Of course, I moved, but I was really frustrated at that point.

The second encounter with a person was, yet again, odd. Like I said, I try to stay aware in situations like this – maybe that’s the military in me? – but when I noticed this woman, I knew I’d have to pay close attention. She was walking up and down the tables of books, not even paying attention to other people. This person very nearly walked directly into me. As a situationally aware person, I don’t ever understand how people can be so unaware of other people (or themselves for that matter) that they’d be able to almost knock into someone, but here we are.

The Haul

I will not be sharing my haul here. I will, however, let you in on how many books I bought and how much I spent. I ended up buying two reusable bags – which added to my total (they were $1.00 each) and I got one book for free because I donated a can of food to the event and received a coupon. In total, I spent $54 and some change – two books I bought were for my mother-in-law (to make up for her paying for parking) and one book was for my husband to decide what to do with (a history book on “great” battles). The rest of my haul, XX books in total, were books for myself and my children to enjoy.

A haul video will go up relatively soon if you’re interested in that, so stay tuned.

Overall…

I didn’t hate my time at this book sale, I just felt anxious and overwhelmed for most of the time. I could have found more books if I hadn’t felt so anxious and overwhelmed, but I’m happy with what I did find. We spent 2 hours at the sale and both walked away with hefty amounts of books.

Let’s chat!

Can you describe your worst book buying experience? Maybe it was at a sale similar to this one. Share a story in the comments!

Book Review | Ghost by Jason Reynolds

One of the requirements for one of my graduate classes is to spend 10 hours observing in a library. My library of choice was a public library within my district. Obviously, as is the nature of librarians and book lovers, my sponsoring librarian and I got to talking about books. More specifically, we got to talking about award winning books. It’s really thanks to her that I picked up this one.

You see Ghost by Jason Reynolds is not a book I would normally pick up. Sure, I love middle grade and I adore children’s books, but I still have many years before my own kids will reach for a book of this level. This means, I still have many years before I would need to screen this book to see if it’s one I need in my personal library.

However, the way my sponsoring librarian talked about this book made me want to check it out that very day. Since I don’t have a library card for this area yet (bad, I know!) I asked my MIL to borrow it for me using her card. She was happy to oblige.

I read it in one day.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Running. That’s all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race — and wins — the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he is trying to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

Why I Loved It

Look, putting aside the fact that I believe diversity is important in books, this one was so important to me because of the lessons it held. Ghost is a boy with a lot of anger and his past is definitely scary (even I, an adult woman, would be terrified if I experienced this boy’s trauma).

The lessons this book holds are important for my own children – judgment, shame, humility – all of these can be found within the pages of this book. It’s important for children to learn these lessons and I thought Reynolds did a great job capturing those lessons.

I unashamedly shed several tears at the end.

And of course the diversity is important. There is so much “wonder bread” in the world of literature that reading about these young, African American children was a breath of fresh air. I live for diverse characters and I live for narrative from the point of view of a person of color.

Does it make the cut?

When my sponsoring librarian told me about this book, I knew I’d read it, but I did not expect to want to immediately add it to my personal library. Without a doubt, hands down, I need this series on my middle grade shelves. It’s wonderful. I could sing praises of this book all day.

In fact, as of writing this, I’ve recommended it to at least 3 of my adult friends – especially to one of my adult friends who’s son is a middle school teacher.

In short, I can see why this book has won awards and exactly why the library I observed in has 15 copies.

Who should read it?

Do you have kids? Read it.

Do you work with kids? Read it.

Do you never want to have kids ever at any point in your life? Read it.

I cannot stress this enough – you should read this book. It’s wonderfully written. The characters, especially Coach, jump off the pages and make you reflect on your own childhood and the people who influenced your life for the better.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I seriously believe this is the stuff middle grade should be made of! It tackles tough topics and offers insight for children into the world their friends may be living in. I seriously, seriously recommend this to anyone.

Let’s chat!

Middle grade isn’t something I dive into too often. What’s your favorite middle grade series? Or if you can’t think of your favorite middle grade series – what’s your favorite middle grade book?

PS – stay tuned! Pretty soon, I’m going to be posting a video about my favorite middle grade books!

Book Review | After You by Jojo Moyes

I spent way too long after finishing Me Before You in a rage. In fact, the rage carried over into my enjoyment of this novel for the first half or so. As much as I tried not to let my anger shape the way I felt about this book, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t let it. Because I did.

I spent so much time being angry at Ms. Moyes over the ending of Me Before You, I almost didn’t even give this book a chance. But I needed to know how the story continued, so I tried to let go of the anger. It worked out for me in the end.

I’m still a little mad though.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.   

Lily Houghton-Miller

I spent half of this book hating Lily. She’s selfish, she’s a brat, and she’s manipulative. How could her father possibly be a character I enjoy so much? Well, it turns out her character flaws mostly derive from her horrible mother.

When we meet Lily, she’s about 16 years old and struggling to find her way in life. She’s the one who witnesses Lou’s accident. She’s the one who calls the ambulance. She’s annoying, but at the same time, I welcomed her to the story. She gives Lou something to focus on besides her grief.

Toward the end, I really came to like Lily. She was just a lost little girl – who better than Lou to help show her the way?

Moving On

The whole point of this novel is, in my opinion, how to deal with grief. It’s the focal point. This book, much as I hated it at first, helped me through my grief to. This novel was like aloe to a burn – it helped soothe my rage and calm my grief. I didn’t know when I started it how much I needed this book to help me get over the ending of Me Before You. This book was all about moving on and I think that’s what helped me enjoy it toward the middle and end.

Ambulance Sam

At first, I didn’t like him. I fell into the trap Moyes wove for us – the trap Lou herself fell into. But when I realized we were both wrong, I was pleased with the love interest selection. While Sam is no Will Traynor, he is definitely someone who understand Lou’s grief enough to help her work through it. By the end, I found myself hopeful for the sake of the budding romance between these two.

Feminism

There is little I love more than a woman who’s spent her whole life living to serve her husband and family discovering feminism. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the novel, aside from the healing of grief. Lou’s mother discovering feminism at the adult school is literally the best. For a book that kept me sad (and crying) throughout, the added spice of a feminist mother gave me some good laughs and kept me from becoming too depressed while reading. Also Lou’s dad being desperate to get Josie out of this movement is quite funny.

Overall Thoughts

Going in, I didn’t think I’d give this one as high a rating as Me Before You. I might have liked this one a smidge better because I felt it handled the whole recovering from grief thing really well. While I didn’t necessarily like how Moyes handled depression in Me Before You, I do really think she did a great job at handling grief. I mean, I’m still grieving the loss of a character, but this book helped me overcome a little bit. I definitely needed to see Lou heal too – even though I didn’t realize it when I picked this one up.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I was worried that this would be the sort of book that sucks – as is the case with a lot of second books’ in a series. I was quite impressed with this one. I’m wondering if anyone feels the same as me. Did you like After You? I noticed its rating is quite a bit lower on Goodreads. Share some thoughts down in the comments.

Book Review | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Last year, I mistakenly ordered Still Me as one of my Book of the Month selections. I say “mistakenly” because at that time I didn’t know it was the third book in a series. When I finally realized my mistake, I headed over to Amazon and picked up a copy of Me Before You and After You so that I’d be ready to read Still Me when the time came.

I decided to grab Me Before You around mid-month because I’d been reading a lot of light hearted and fun books throughout the month of February and I, surprisingly, wanted a break from YA at this point in the month.

I have many thoughts on the book so let’s get started.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Mental Health

The first thing I’d like to discuss is the mental health situation surround Will. Obviously he isn’t happy with his life. And how could he be? I mean, he went from being on top of the world – travelling and living his life to the fullest – to being bound to his chair and house. I understand how that could be depressing.

What I didn’t like is how the depression was handled in this book. I thought, without giving any spoilers, it could have been handled a bit better. I didn’t necessarily dislike the use of mental health in this book, but I didn’t like that Jojo Moyes basically made it seem like living life in a chair wasn’t worth living.

One more time, I understand that this is how someone who lead an active life before a life changing accident would likely feel, but I would have thought the Traynor’s could afford to send Will to speak with a therapist after his attempted suicide. This would have helped alter my view, if slightly, on the mental health in this story.

Supporting Characters

Look, Louisa is obviously my favorite. She’s sarcastic and sassy and a character who leapt off the page at me. I really like her and could see myself being friends with a person like her. She also has kindness in her from being raised by a really wholesome family.

For the most part, I liked the supporting characters. Even Will’s mom wasn’t that bad. Do you know who I hated? Patrick. Seriously, fuck that guy.

As Lou’s boyfriend of nearly 7 years, you’d think they’d be engaged or at least living together. No chance. Patrick is married to working out – which is fine. Do you, Patrick. Just don’t get pissy pants when your girl starts to drift away from you. Also don’t be a prick to a man in a wheelchair just because you’re jealous that he’s obviously way better than you.

Basically, Lou could do better than Patrick. Rant over.

On to Lou’s family. I loved her father. He reminded me so much of my own dad it was nuts! The way he teases Lou is exactly the way my dad teases my sister and me. I loved him. And Lou’s mom was the kind of mom I strive to be – loving, nurturing, and kind. Treena was kind of bitchy and gave off the vibe of older sister (even though she’s younger). I think this is because she’s got a child of her own, but I still liked her. She kept it real with Lou which is what she needed.

That Ending

I’m gonna be up front with you here. I was furious at the end of this novel. Literally, I was so pissed I couldn’t even feel anything but rage. I can’t go much into details here because my mother in law reads this blog and I don’t want to give spoilers since I know she wants to read this book… If you have read Me Before You you know why I’m mad.

Honestly, when it’s all said and done I quite enjoyed this book. It was a heart wrenching love story that I didn’t know was missing from my life. Even though I was mad about how it ended, I recommend it to romance lovers. It’s not a hardcore, smutty romance story, but the love is there and it’s so strong.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you watched the film adaptation of Me Before You? Is it worth watching or is it really different from the book? Tell me how you felt while reading this book in the comments.

Book Review | Golden State by Ben H. Winters

Book of the Month is my favorite way to get new books. Not only do they select pre-releases, they also have introduced me to some of my favorite books at a fraction of how much they’d cost me in stores. I have no complaints and honestly, one of my favorite days of every month is carefully browsing through the five selections to ensure I pick the best book for me.

Occasionally, I pick a flop (for ME). Most of the times though, I end up with a newfound favorite book. Golden State by Ben H. Winters was my January 2019 Book of the Month Selection. It’s definitely a book I’m glad I picked!

Book of the Month describes Golden State as a fast read, action packed, and movie-ish. I can agree… slightly.

It was kind of a slow build for me. There was tons of action and I really liked it, but it took me as long to read this book (319 pages) as it did for me to read Clockwork Princess (570 pages). This being said, I can see this being an really great movie!

Lies are a physical thing

Speculative Service members can, quite literally, choke on lies. Our main character, Laszlo Ratesic is a 19 year veteran of the Speculative Service. His brother, Charlie, was also a member of the Service. The story centers around the fact that Laszlo and his brother were incredibly different Speculators. I can’t quite explain this without giving spoilers. Trust me, it’s interesting!

1984-esque

If you told me to pick my favorite dystopian novel, I would without hesitation say 1984. I read it my junior year of high school and have read it multiple times since. I almost wrote my senior thesis on the book! With that being said, I definitely drew some parallels between the Orwell classic and Winters’ more modern dystopian thriller. For starters, EVERYTHING is monitored in Golden State. There are cameras (not called cameras in the book) everywhere and members of the Government actually wear them on their persons. Nothing goes Off Record because it’s against the law. There was so much detail that went into the concept of this novel, I really admire Winters as a writer.

Twisty, Turny, Unexpected Ending

The ending is one I never saw coming! I was shocked and actually had to rewind and re-read a couple of pages because I was certain I was imagining the ending. It was really unexpected (for me, a thriller lover). The lies, secrets, and betrayals were everything I look for in novels like this.

Conclusion

This book is for you if you’re a fan of dystopian novels. If you haven’t read 1984 and read this and like it, I’d definitely recommend checking out the Orwell novel too. It’s really fun to be able to draw parallels between the two novels. This is very much how I imagine 1984 would look if written in modern times. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟💫

Book Review | Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

No doubt, I’ve said by now, I waited until Queen of Air and Darkness released to read The Dark Artifices. The thing about Cassandra Clare’s book is once I start a series, I need to devour it. The story consumes me and I knew that if the Blackthorns were involved in this trilogy, I’d want to devour the series as fast as I can. Have I mentioned how much I like Mark Blackthorn? He’s the main reason I anticipated this trilogy so much…

Normally, I love the last book of Cassie’s series’ or trilogies the most. Clockwork Princess was my favorite of The Infernal Devices. City of Heavenly Fire was, probably an unpopular opinion, a decent close to The Mortal Instruments. And, definitely don’t get me wrong, Queen of Air and Darkness neatly wrapped up Emma and Julian’s storyline, but left others WIDE OPEN, hence why Lord of Shadows ended up being my favorite of The Dark Artifices.

Let’s discuss the beginning

To start, I thought this book was really good. Long winded, but everything included was somehow necessary. This was, without a doubt, the longest YA novel I’ve read to date. It was long, but it didn’t feel drivelly. That said, I do think it was a slow build.

The way Lord of Shadows ended, I expected Queen of Air and Darkness to come in hot with Julian’s ruthless heart. It did not. It took me about 300 pages to really get invested in this book. It’s not that it was disappointing or anything, it just felt like Cassie was doing more building of the story.

Chapter One was really well written. I cried through the entirety of the chapter because I still wasn’t prepared to say goodbye to certain characters.

This whole book was full of complexities that I really enjoyed. I won’t divulge too much detail, because I try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but there was a lot of detail that went into this novel that I really enjoyed.

Overlapping storylines

One thing I really love about Cassie is she always brings back beloved characters. In this one, we get a lot of The Mortal Instruments gang (mainly Clary, Jace, Alec, and Magnus) and not nearly enough Tessa and Jem. There are happy moments with Tessa and Jem and devastating ones too.

I really liked that Clary and Jace, Alec and Magnus played a big part in Queen of Air and Darkness. One of my biggest qualms with City of Heavenly Fire is that young Emma and Julian were really in it a lot. This was different though because everyone is older so there’s less pre-teen angst and a lot more adultish themes. Also, Emma and Julian as almost adults are a lot less annoying that pre-teen Emma and Julian. So there’s that!

Relationships, relationships, relationships

So much happens in terms of relationships. Deeper connections are made between some of my favorites. Some relationships seem broken beyond repair. Special bonds are formed between two of my favorite characters. This one was heartbreaking in terms of relationships, but in the best way.

The Big Problem

Look, this might be a little spoilery… As much as I love Alec and Magnus, the ending of Queen of Air and Darkness seemed more about them than it did Emma and Julian. I’m not mad, I’m simply stating something I thought when I finished reading. It was nice to see Malec taking strides in their relationship, but I need more closure for Emma and Julian (I’m sure the time will come eventually!).

Here’s my problem… the Epilogue opened the door for a whole other story and I NEED IT NOW.

Here’s what I hope

I felt sad that Kit decided to leave without saying goodbye. I was really hoping he’d stay for Ty. I’m now hopeful for a Kit and Ty story and I need more about Mark and Cristina. I’m hopeful that once Red Scrolls of Magic come out, we will get to see more of both sets of characters.

Overall, I’m not mad at Queen of Air and Darkness and it’s still a really great book. There are just certain things that upset me about the novel because I feel like I need MORE closure. Guess I’m just greedy like that! 😛

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫

Book Discussion/Review | Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

I go into every Cassandra Clare novel reminding myself I’m likely to cry by the end. Typically this warning is a reminder when I read a final installment of her series’, but I try to keep it in the back of my mind for every book (including the novellas). Even with my reminder, I was not prepared for how much I would cry reading Lord of Shadows.

Caution:  Spoilers Ahead

When we last saw Emma, she was convincing Mark to pretend to be falling in love with her. While I don’t think it’s beautiful that they’re lying to everyone around them, I think the friendship formed from this fake relationship is really lovely.

The thing about Cassie’s writing, at least in my opinion, is she knows how to write relationships I’m invested in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic relationship or just a friendship. I love the way she writes about the bonds formed between her characters. This is important to me in the novels I consume so I was happy to see it continue on in Lord of Shadows.

Emma and Cristina’s relationship is almost on par with Simon and Clary’s friendship. As far as friendships go, I’m equally as invested in both of these relationships. As this novel progressed, I found myself wishing Emma and Cristina could be parabati. It would certainly make Emma and Julian’s relationship easier.

Mark and Emma’s friendship, under the ruse of dating, is also one I came to adore. As they pretended to be falling in love, I noticed they were getting closer and closer as friends. Mark is one of my favorite characters in the Shadowhunters Chronicales, so to get more of him, especially moments where he’s re-learning how to be a Shadowhunter, was something I really cherished about this novel. I didn’t necessarily like that Emma and Mark were pretending (because I prefer Mark with Kieran or Cristina) but I liked that Mark had someone else to rely on as the story progressed.

I struggled with Kieran in this novel. I harbored so much residual hatred for him from Lady Midnight, I couldn’t quite feel bad for him when he was taken to the Unseelie Court. I didn’t necessarily want him to die at the hands of his father, but that doesn’t mean I liked him. I think after he was rescued by Mark, Emma, Jules, and Cristina I started to like him more. I didn’t like that he was behaving like a jealous boyfriend, but I get why he was that way.

Kit, Ty, and Livvy really stood out in this one. Their little trio is very much how I imagine Jace, Izzy, and Alec’s trio to be when Jace came to live at the New York Institute. I imagine that Kit and Jace felt very much the same way when they joined their respective Institutes because Herondale’s are all quite alike. I loved that Kit was Livvy’s first kiss even though it seems Kit is more intrigued by Ty than Livvy. The friendship in this group was really important to me as this novel progressed.

While nothing is really complicated about the friendships in Lord of Shadows, the romantic relationships are completely opposite.

First, Julian and Emma… Oh boy, how to even explain. Their relationship seems to be becoming a raging fire…. Even though Mark and Emma pretended to date until after the came home from Faerie, I could tell it was hurting Julian a lot. Mark, of course, didn’t know how much it was hurting Jules because he thought it was to hurt Cameron. When Emma and Mark break up, I would compare Jules and Emma’s relationship to throwing gasoline on a fire. It really ramps up and starts to affect their bond. I know this is one of the main principles of the novel and I’m not doing it any justice whatsoever, so basically: I spent this whole novel rooting for Emma and Jules. I don’t want to give too many spoilers…

Kieran and Mark or Mark and Cristina Or Mark, Kieran, and Cristina? This was even more complicated than Julian and Emma. I like Mark and Kieran together. Kieran was the person who helped keep Mark safe in the Wild Hunt so I feel like I can forgive Kieran for his sins… But Cristina helped keep Mark sane when he returned from the Hunt. And she’s a genuinely kind person. So I have to root for her and Mark. But I can also see Cristina and Kieran as a couple because he takes care of her after he slays Erec. And I can see all of them together because of the love Kieran and Cristina both have for Mark. Basically, Lord of Shadows sits on the precipice of a thrupple. I live for it.

One relationship I did not question whatsoever was Gwyn and Diana. She is such a badass woman, she deserves someone equally badass. Who’s more badass than the leader of the Wild Hunt? We learn that Diana is harboring a secret and we learn what her secret is and I couldn’t possibly love Cassie any more for including a variety of characters in her novels.

Was there anything that pissed me off relationship wise? Yes. Of course! The Mortal Instruments introduced me to Cassie’s writing, so to read that Clary turned Jace down when he asked her to marry him – even though she had a valid reason – really wound me up. I yelled. I cried. I cursed Clary out in my head. But ultimately, I got it. However, if Clary and Jace don’t end up married how is there hope for any other relationship in this world Cassie created?

Okay… enough about the relationships in this novel. Let’s talk about the worst parts of Lord of Shadows:  the Centurions.

If any one character, besides Valentine, defined “Shadowhunter Superiority” it’s Zara Dearborn. This isn’t used lightly; Zara is a raging bitch. I was surprised when she introduced herself as perfect Diego’s fiancee. I was heartbroken for Cristina or course because Diego doesn’t seem that bad.

When Manuel and Zara have their secret meeting and the little trio of spies catches them, I couldn’t help but compare their ideas for the Downworld to Nazi Germany. I’m sure this was Cassie’s intent too. While Lady Midnight was about catching Annabel Blackthorn, Lord of Shadows seems to be more about taking down Zara and her cronies. Or maybe they’re the underlying problem… after recapturing Annabel.


All in all, I really enjoyed reading more about the Blackthorns and Emma. There were character deaths, one in particular, I will never recover from and there were super sweet moments as well. At the time of writing this, I have finished Queen of Air and Darkness and can safely report Lord of Shadows is my favorite of The Dark Artifices trilogy.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Note: I really had to reign myself in on this one… I could have written about every tiny detail that was important to me, but I really wanted to focus on the building up of relationships in this one. Call me sentimental! ha