Our Secret Selves

I love this quote from The Walls Around Us by Niva Ren Suma. Oftentimes we spend a lot of the day presenting ourselves as a certain kind of person. At work, I’m relatively quiet, speaking only when spoken too. A coworker recently looked at me in surprise when I cracked a joke during a Teams meeting. In reality, my questionable taste in music is generally blasting in my ear buds, and I tend to see the humor in even the most mundane of things. And I talk to myself, a lot. Usually in my head, but sometimes things slip out.

I think my bookshelf represents the multiple facets of a person well. Is it full of fantasy? Classics? David Sedaris? Is it organized in the full Monica Geller or is it in the always trendy rainbow?

Mine is a mix of different genres and I like to think a quick perusal shows my personality if you know how to look for it. Urban fantasy mixed with childhood classics, adult lit and YA meet cute shmoop, sexy vampires and paranormal vibes, travel books raging from the Amalfi coast to the North Pole to the Eastern State Penitentiary. And they’re all organized by genre and then series, and if there’s no series, alpha order.

What do you think of this quote and what do you think your bookshelf says about you? Let me know!

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

In 2011, when Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare was first released, I left a blurb on Goodreads saying “oh holy hell, this book.” I believe it was meant for the ending, but it’s been ten years, so one really doesn’t know.

Tessa Gray is coming to terms with her life in London. She’s living in the Institute with the Shadowhunters, beginning a training regimen under the Lightwoods, and closer to finding the truth about who – or what – she is. But things aren’t looking good for the London Institute, directed by Charlotte and Henry Branwell, they’ve come under fire for being neglectful of how it’s run, or perhaps the Clave just needs a guise to uproot a female leader. It is Victorian London, after all.

The Magister still seeks Tessa to be his own. She, along with the increasingly confusing and moody Will Herondale and the ever faithful Jem Carstairs, begin to unravel plots within plots as they race to uncover the mystery of his Clockwork Army, his true parentage, and the lifelong vendetta he holds against the Shadowhunters. And what does Benedict Lightwood have against them? Why is he suddenly so forceful in the removal of Charlotte from her position?

Cassandra Clare tells this book from shifting narratives, weaving Tessa’s story into Will’s with surprising outcomes. The ending is a shocker, but not so much if you’ve been paying attention.

All in all I’m glad to have picked this series up again. I’ll finish it out, but I wish I had thought to read this prior to reading The Last Hours series. While I recognized names and places, it would have been helpful to have the backstories fresh in my mind.

Goodreads rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would I read it again? Sure, it’s a regular reread!

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Hello Readers!

In the spirit of almost-Fall, I want you to think about biting into a caramel apple. It’s sticky from the caramel, sharp from the dusting of salt, and tart from the apple underneath the layers of goodness. That’s how I’d like to present The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling – aka Rachel Hawkins, beloved former YA author, twitter aficionado, and cat mama. I recently won a giveaway on Goodreads for the kindle edition of The Ex Hex, or perhaps more widely known by it’s working title, Hocus Pocus but They F.

…I couldn’t not pre-order/enter giveaways for a book titled like that, alright? Although recently, Sterling has admitted to never actually having seen Hocus Pocus. But it’s a vibe, as the kids say. A state of mind, if you’re dated like me.

Let’s set the scene: crisp, autumn air; leaves crunching underfoot, haunted houses, ghosts, and witches. An unimaginable amount of fairy lights strung up in window displays featuring enough pumpkins to put Disney’s After Hours Boo Bash to shame. Also, there’s a sexy warlock – excuse me, witch, as it’s used for both genders now, that’s come to the little village of Graves Glen, much to the dismay of our heroine, Vivienne Jones.

Nestled in the Georgia mountains is a small village that holds a secret. It’s a hot spot for witches, and Rhys Penhallow has come to stand in for his family at the annual Founder’s Day celebration, an event that kicks off the most touristy time of year for it’s residents – Halloween. He’s also in town to charge the ley lines, which give power to the witches that reside in the village, and there’s quite a few of them as the college in town has it’s own spooky division. The normies know nothing of it, and that’s how our resident witches like it.

Vivi hasn’t seen Rhys since she threw a pair of jeans at him. After a passionate three months, Rhys announced he needed to go home and stop his father from moving forward with arranging a marriage for him. Vivi was unsympathetic to his plight, got drunk and cursed his hair, good looks, and sexual prowess. Nine years later they’re back together for a couple of days and the joke curse Vivi placed on him has come to light as an actual curse. Together, the two pair up for misadventures in attempting to contain the magic that’s been let loose on Graves Glen.

I really enjoyed Erin Sterling’s second foray into adult literature. Her quick wit, charming characters, and ability to bring a scene to life with her written words is pretty unmatched, in my opinion. And if you’re amenable, she’s pretty good at writing the sexytimes too.

This is a great read to ring in the spooky season. And I noticed this morning that Goodreads now notes this as The Ex Hex #1 – is this perhaps becoming a series? I’d be down.

Edit: Sterling confirmed there will be a sequel via her Twitter. Yay!!

Goodreads rating: 5 of 5 stars

Will I read it again? Yes! Definitely will be added into my October rotations.

Has anyone gotten their hands on a giveaway copy or arc? The Ex Hex releases 9.28, so if anyone wants to leave their thoughts on it in the comments, let’s chat.

We can’t kill our way out of this one.

Have you ever done a double take at a quote or a book title? I had that moment a few days ago when I came across this promo image on Pinterest for A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. Released in 2018, apparently I added it to my never-ending TBR list on Goodreads, and it’s a novella – a side story to Maas’ best selling Court of Thorns and Roses series (also added to my TBR). While I’m currently making my way through some autumn inspired reads, the title and tagline of this have me entirely too intrigued. Hopefully I’ll remember to come back to it in a few weeks, and not leave it lost on a virtual shelf for another three years.

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

I originally read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare when it debuted in 2010. My Goodreads blurb about the book was as follows:

This reminded me a little bit of A Great and Terrible Beauty, and the main characters all have some semblance to the TMI characters, and Cassandra Clare is entirely too fond of cliffhangers, but this is otherwise one of my favorite books read this year.

While I still have issues using a comma appropriately and don’t really remember A Great and Terrible Beauty all that well, the rest remains true. Cassandra Clare knows how to tell a story, and while she does recycle plot lines and characters, her ability to hold your attention from the start is refreshing, especially in the YA world.

Tessa Gray is more than what she seems. An orphaned girl from New York, she lives with her Aunt and brother after the death of her parents. But Nate soon takes a job in London, and when Aunt Harriet dies, he sends for her to join him. Disembarking from the steamboat, her world is flipped upside down as she’s taken prisoner by the Dark Sisters, a pair of Downworlders charged with teaching Tessa to Change. Tessa’s not actually human, and her scalawag of a brother has traded her person for a handful of silver. Her ability has caught the attention of The Magister, who wants the shape shifting girl for his own.

Breaking free of the Dark Sisters, Tessa meets Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs, Shadowhunters who are sworn to protect and fight against those who seek to destroy. Together they begin seeking out Tessa’s missing brother, making their way through the dangerous underworld of warlocks, demons, and other supernatural beings. But what they find is much more than a missing sibling and vampire games.