Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasserman

Summary From Goodreads:
The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires. There the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray.

Follow Brother Zachariah and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealings and festive celebrations, Anna Lightwood’s first romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin and Tessa Gray plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah...

Ghosts of the Shadow Market will be co-written with Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman, Sarah Rees Brennan and Pulitzer finalist Kelly Link and will initially be available digitally.

The first eight stories will be published as e-books from around March 2018 monthly, with the final two available in a print bind-up of all the stories, to be published in 2019.
I love these books. I love all the books that take place in this magical, magical world. I kind of went into this one blindly. It came out before I knew it. And I didn’t even let myself read the side flap summary. I just jumped right in. I loved getting so much more of Jem! He was one of my favorite characters from the The Infernal Devices series. And getting all these mini moments of him over the centuries was such a surprise treat.
This book definitely reads like a setup for the author’s upcoming series. But, I liked that. I liked getting the full backstory of what’s to come. And I liked getting so much perspective on it. From Alec’s story, to Catarina’s, to Magnus’s, to even Jace’s. Getting  to read about the night Jace joined the Lightwood’s was such a treat!
And I guess that’s the overall feeling of this book in general; a special treat I didn’t know I needed, but greatly did. And getting a more in-depth description of Alec and Magnus’ adoption story brought tears to my eyes. And I can’t forget Jem’s love story that transcends centuries. It was heart-wrenching, sad, and beautiful. I was so happy for the love he finally got to experience.
I love that Cassandra Clare teams up sometimes with other authors. I feel like these other authors can pull out even more from her. When she pairs with Maureen Johnson or Sarah Rees Brennan, it’s like magic. These ladies get characters so well. And you’d think that other authors (who didn’t actually write these people initially) would struggle with this. They don’t. They make these characters even more real.
Not all the stories were amazing. Some were. Some were just okay. But overall, I was glad to have read this. It really did feel like a bonus treat I was rewarded for good behavior. I got sneak peaks into moments I only ever imagined before…or didn’t even have the ability to think up. I can’t wait for the much alluded to next series to come out. Overall I give this a 9/10.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Serafina and the Seven Stars by Robert Beatty

Summary from Goodreads:
Serafina and Braeden make an epic return in the hotly anticipated fourth installment of Robert Beatty's #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina series. Serafina, the Guardian of Biltmore Estate, has won battle after battle against the dark forces encroaching on her home. Now, tranquility has returned to Biltmore. Serafina doesn't trust it. She patrols the grounds night and day, hardly sleeping, uncertain of her place after her best friend Braeden Vanderbilt's departure for boarding school in New York.

When Mr. Vanderbilt, the kind master of Biltmore, asks Serafina to move upstairs into one of the house's grandest rooms, she's sure it's to keep an eye on the guests who have arrived for the estate's annual hunt.

But as Serafina investigates, she becomes more and more unsettled by what Biltmore has become-a place haunted by nameless terrors where no dark corridor is safe. Even worse, she begins to doubt her own senses. Is Braeden really hundreds of miles away, or did he return to Biltmore for one strange night before vanishing? Is the bond between them truly broken or is it stronger than ever?

Then Serafina witnesses a crime that turns her world upside down. How can all that once seemed good and worthy of protection now be evil? And how can she guard those around her when she can't even be sure of the truth of her own heart?

Serafina and the Seven Stars marks the return of a heroine like no other, as master storyteller Robert Beatty weaves his darkest, most astonishing tale yet.
As I wrote on Goodreads, this wasn’t quite as suspenseful or dark or as addicting as the other books in this series. But…I still loved it. The ending melted my heart. It felt like this was the closure fans needed from book 3, but didn’t get. We got some closure in this book and it was nice.
I am a huge fan of this series. I find myself recommending it to children, teens, and adults. The writing style, the setting, and the plot are just masterful. It’s what I wish all middle grade novels can be, and secretly hope for each time I flip through new pages.
I was sad when the third (and thought to be final) book ended. I wanted more closure. I needed to know what would become of Serafina. She can’t live in the basement forever. And was there any possibility of her and Braeden becoming more than just friends? This fourth book (and definitely probably) last book answers all these questions.
There’s also of course a supernatural mystery to solve. I liked the involvement of Greek mythology, though I have to say out of all the mysteries, this one grabbed me the least. Maybe because my focus was on other things. Or maybe because my focus was supposed to be elsewhere. I’m not sure. That being said, it was still filled some serious surprises for me. One scene had me gasping in shock.
I liked that things resolved with a neat ribbon at the end. Though, maybe the ending was too good to be true. I liked how happy everything was. Don’t get me wrong. I feel like I have been drowning in sad stories, endings, and pot twists lately. It was refreshing to have so much happiness. It just comes off as almost too good. If that makes sense. But, I guess I’m kind of nitpicking here. I love this series. I can’t wait to see what this author writes next. I give this last book an 8/10.

Monday, July 8, 2019

A Good Week in Books (206)

I finished two books this week, and I can’t wait to review them. I’ve also received 5 new books for review (Thank you, Hachette and Macmillan). And I’m lucky enough to have a library board member come back from ALA with a middle grade ARC I’ve been dying to read. I feel so lucky to have so many good books coming my way.
The haul:

The Shortest Distance Between Us by Sandy Hall
The Traitor’s Kingdom by Erin Beaty
Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (ARC)
Symptoms of Heart Break by Sona Charaipotra
Better than the Best Plan by Lauren Morrill
Old Souls by Brian McDonald and Les McClaine
How was your week in books?