The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Tessa Lowell has spent the last ten years living with her grandmother in Florida. Ten years away from everything she knew – the shit hole town where she grew up, ten years away from her friends and family, ten years away from the Monster. And then she receives a phone call that changes everything.

Her dad is dying, and while she doesn’t care, not really, she gets on a plane anyway to see the man whose been locked up all this time, one last time. But he’s already dead when she gets there, and there’s a name on his visitors list that unravels everything.

Why did her best childhood friend stop talking to her? Where is mother? And why did her missing sister come back to visit their dying father, only to disappear again immediately? All these questions extend her trip to Fayette, the podunk town she lived in before moving to Florida after her mother gave her up. And then another victim of the Monster surfaces.

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas is gripping from the very beginning, although not as attention keeping as the previous works I’ve reviewed. You can tell Thomas loves true crime in real life, and it shows in her writing. She knows how to tell a story and keep it moving, although The Darkest Corners doesn’t have as many mind boggling twists and turns as usual. Still, I really enjoyed this work and I’m happy to continue reading more as the author releases. I believe I only have one more published work to go currently.

Goodreads rating: 3 of 5 stars

Would I read it again? I’m not in any hurry, but I wouldn’t say never.

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Kara Thomas has a way of sucking you in from the first page of her writing. That’s what happened to me with Little Monsters this weekend. There’s no long and drawn out build up, it’s gripping and has momentum from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go until the very last page.

Kacey moved from New York to Wisconsin about a year ago to live with the dad she never knew and his family. She has an edge about her, her own scars and experiences that have shaped her, but she falls into family life more or less well enough. She makes friends with two girls at school almost immediately, and while not popular or cool, they’re their own little circle.

But things aren’t always what they seem, and sometimes being a teenage girl is hard. When Kacey is left out of one of the biggest parties of the year, she’s hurt but not dramatically so. Her friend Bailey was supposed to text her and never does, and then turns up missing the next day. And so unfolds one of the craziest stories I’ve read all year.

When I reviewed That Weekend over the summer, I knew I had found a new favorite author. And I was right, and it’s only the beginning as Kara Thomas is, while not a brand new author, one that has a couple more books I need to pick up. If you love YA thrillers that are fast paced, keep you on your toes, and have none of the drudgery that sometimes weighs books like these down, this one’s for you.

Goodreads rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would I read it again? Oh yes!

Bad Magic and the Big Top (Blackwood Bay Witches #2) by Misty Bane

The circus has come to town. But first, Dru Rathmore Davis has to do something about the dead clown on her doorstep. She wakes up one morning to discover her bookshop has been broken into, but something more sinister awaits.

Life in the sleepy seaside town Dru moved to recently has been anything but sleepy. It’s been a month since she found out she’s a witch, can see ghosts, and talk to animals. And now she, along with her Guardian, Harper, have to contend with an influx of acrobats, fire breathers, and – to Dru’s disdain – clowns. As a clown hater myself, I feel her pain.

While Harper and the rest of the police force are on the case, Dru pulls her former life’s private investigator skills out of her back pocket. As circus performers start dropping like flies days after their arrival in Blackwood Bay, it’s all hands on deck despite Harper’s pledge as a Guardian to keep Dru away from all things dangerous.

Bad Magic and the Big Top by Misty Bane is the second installment in her Blackwood Bay Witches series. It’s not as good as the first, but it’s a quick little cozy mystery if you’re into that sort of thing. I enjoyed Harper and Dru’s friends but wishing they were more thing, and their banter is realistic. Dru is the kind of woman who isn’t looking for a hero to save her, and I find it relatable and refreshing. This one needed more Granny and the rest of the Coven. Granny’s sarcastic demeanor and the witches lovable personalities were definitely missed.

But I did enjoy the breaking and entering chicken escapades. As someone who lives in a town where chickens occasionally get loose and stop traffic, it’s frustrating and hysterical and I loved that it showed up in a book I was reading. Also, I’d really like my own cleaning fairies. That would be fire.

Goodreads rating: 2 of 5 stars.

Would I read it again? Probably not.

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare

Months after the Shadowhunter attacks of the summer, old fears return as a murderer walks loose in dawn hours. Patrols are set up, and Cordelia and her friends take personal interest in the deaths as James finds himself in a waking nightmare. Who is killing their own in the early hours? And why are the bodies located in such places? Why are they missing ruins?

For Cordelia Carstairs and the Merry Thieves, life in London continues on in Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare. Cordelia is married now, and only those closest to her know the truth behind her sham marriage vows. While she loves her husband desperately, she’s unnerved by the fact that he loves another. Together they brave increasingly romantic moments while trying to remind themselves of promises made.

Lucie Herondale discovers a strange new power. She’s always been able to see ghosts as it’s a Herondale family trait, but now she finds she’s able to command them to her will. Together with Grace Blackthorn, the unlikely pair begin to dive into necromancy and illegal magic in effort to raise Grace’s brother Jesse from the dead. Neither trusts the other, but their mutual love for Jesse brings them together in fantastical escapades.

Matthew Fairchild is determined to live his life in an obliterated state. Golden, charismatic, with a cheshire smile – he should have the world at his feet. But between harboring secrets and drowning himself in alcohol, and his friends and family become increasingly worried that he’ll be his own ruin.

While I’ve grown out of Cassandra Clare’s overwhelming descriptions of young love and beauty, I really enjoyed Chain of Iron and was sad to realize there’s no release date for the third installment of The Last Hours series. Clare churns books out like clockwork, but world events have put a damper even on publishing, I imagine. She’s got multiple books in this universe and they have a special place in my heart. I haven’t read all of her side stories, but I do think I’ll revisit the prequel series to The Last Hours, Infernal Devices. It’s been awhile.

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare

I looked up Cassandra Clare recently and had one of those moments where you realize just how old you are. I’ve been reading Clare’s works since 2007 and recently recalled a memory where, upon reading her outline for all her Shadowhunter books, I realized I’d be 30 by the time she finished. It’s been fourteen years; she’s still writing and I’m still reading.

I had to google to see where I’d left off in the universe and was pleasantly surprised to see I was only two books behind. So I’m not terribly late to Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. I did have to research a little to familiarize myself with the timeline though.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this installment introduced Will & Tessa Herondale’s children, formally of Clare’s Infernal Devices series. I’d forgotten how much I liked the Victorian era Shadowhunters. I might have to reread that series again.

Cordelia Carstairs has come to London under the cover of becoming parabatai to Lucie Herondale. Together, they will be closer than sisters, warriors bound together in a ceremony many young Shadowhunters take part in with those closest to them. But really, she and her mother and brother have come so that she can seek someone to marry. With her father awaiting trial in Idris for a terrible crime, marriage is the only way her family can save their reputation.

She’s lonely, seeing strangers in every face except her girlhood friend Lucie, and Lucie’s older brother James. Soon, she becomes swept up in the lives of the next generation of Herondales, Fairchilds, Lightwoods, and Blackthorns. There’s fancy dress balls, picnics in the park, and explosions in secret laboratories. Sadly, only a whisper of Church, a cat with the lifespan of a warlock, who appears in most Shadowhunter novels.

Demon activity has been quiet for many years. Even though nephilim continue to train, the young know nothing except stories of what it is to be a true hero. But when demons begin to strike in daylight – unheard of behavior, and Shadowhunters become ill from wounds healing ruins can’t fix, Cordelia, Lucie, and the Merry Thieves (James’ group of social miscreants) become entangled in a story with deep and dark ties to their own. With London under quarantine against the attacks, Cordelia learns the true meaning of family and being a hero.