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.
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.
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.
The picturesque background of upstate New York holds a mystery Lo Denham has been trying to unravel for six years. Where is her sister? Lo’s been working as an assistant to the head of SVO, and up and coming magazine, for a year and is finally ready to get her byline – by investigating the truth of The Unity Project, the community her sister Bea loses herself in shortly after their parents deaths.
Bea Denham joins The Unity Project, a cult to everyone else, that bases itself on love, acceptance, and faith. Her little sister was brought back to life by their charismatic leader, Lev Warren. She leaves Lo in the care of their great Aunt and begins a semi-reclusive life working to grow The Project’s outreach.
Foster worked in an emergency room, where by chance he has a run in with Bea in the hospital chapel after losing a young patient. He’s brought into The Project as the perfect soldier. He’s a young man searching for more than the hurt and death he sees daily.
Told from a shifting narrative, The Project by Courtney Summers entwines the lives of the lost, the lonely, and those searching for the truth in a fast paced thriller centering on how much damage one man with too many idealizations about himself can cause. I was a little skeptical going in. I saw the hype over this book on social media and I’ve read a book or two by the author in the past, but nothing that stuck with me. But after the initial set up I was hooked, reaching for it in-between Sunday tasks and checking the latest hurricane coverage. It’s gripping and raw, and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.
If you’re still looking for the hit of the summer, or you’re looking for that final hurrah pseudo-thriller that’s perfect to curl up with while everyone else is getting salty and sunburned at the beach, That Weekend by Kara Thomas is the book for you.
This is pretty much a roller coaster ride from cover to end.
Claire Keough just dumped her boyfriend, and instead of spending prom weekend with him and his friends, she decides to join her best friend Kat and her boyfriend Jesse on a camping trip. What she doesn’t know is that her weekend is going to end up with her in the hospital from head trauma, and her bff’s missing and later presumed dead.
Claire wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the last two days. Her parents are pissed, she takes a very bad trip down Ambien Lane, and her nurse is a nightmare. Soon, the local sheriff comes knocking to ask questions, the FBI gets involved, and secret after secret is revealed in solid twists and turns. The third act is stunning in a way that isn’t too sensationalistic, something that YA authors don’t typically master well.
I’m a little stunned, a little shook up, and so, so glad That Weekend turned up on my social media. Kara Thomas just became a pre-order author for me. She’s going to be hard to top for sure.