Stacking the Shelves #9

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! This post is a little late as it’s been a few weeks since Chain of Gold was released, but I’m excited to tell you guys about the copies I got.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
 

I had the edition below preordered, but then I started seeing the normal hardcovers. I was worried they were going to print them shiny like the hardcovers of Ghosts of the Shadow Market, but these are matte and gorgeous! And they have ‘collectors first edition’ on them. You can bet I picked one up!

The Last Hours: Chain of Gold Exclusive Edition (Hardback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

I also had my gorgeous Waterstones edition on pre-order. It’s such a lovely colour, I love the rich purple.

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Lord of Shadows (#2) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?
And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late. 

Of course I adored this book – how could I not? But I also feel as though I’ve been reading this forever. I don’t know why, but I think this is by far the longest it’s taken me to get through any Cassie Clare book. And I know it’s really long, but it surprised me how the pages didn’t seem to be flying by quite as quickly as I expected them to.

That being said, I still think this is a brilliant continuation of the Lady Midnight. It’s complex, with travels around the world (and other worlds) and contained so much depth as usual. The addition of yet more characters felt necessary and so brilliantly done. I just love how Clare can make us feel sympathy for even the most unlikely of people.

“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them.”

The variation of scenes, especially in the second half of the book, really did make some of the pages fly. I loved reading scenes set in Cornwall, then London, then Idris, then Faerie.

But…I need to talk about Faerie. I don’t know, I just feel like although my heart is absolutely bursting with love there is some small thing that didn’t click for me while I was reading it? I think that’s a lot to do with this being one of the only books I’ve ever read with Fae and the Fae lands in it, and for some reason my head just found it hard to get around (on top of being really sick at the moment).

“We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”

I just feel like I’m loving this book a little bit more now looking back than I was during, and in retrospect I definitely feel like I can appreciate it just that little bit more! Overall, I thought this was a great sequel, and I’m so excited to pick up Queen of Air and Darkness. I just don’t know why it took me a while to read!

★★★★ 
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Lady Midnight (#1) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Clare never fails to astound me, and I honestly think she may have nabbed my top spot on my favourite authors list! To prove a point, I started this book on Friday and finished it on Tuesday. And I know there are many fans who would have been able to read much quicker than I did, but for me, 5 days is pretty damn quick.

There’s something so special about The Dark Artifices, and it makes me constantly realise how incredible Clare is to write numerous Shadowhunter series with different characters and yet have them stand so far apart from one another. The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices all have very special places in my heart, and for different reasons.

“These pictures are my heart.”

I loved The Mortal Instruments so much, but I could very clearly see that Clare was developing her writing. Now on the third series, her writing is better than ever and it made Lady Midnight amazing for me. I could love no one as much as Tessa, Will and Jem, but I became so attached to Emma, Julian and his family throughout this book. The children are so diverse and vibrant and I love them all for it.

This book was full of twists and turns, especially after the initial couple hundred pages. I do think this book took a while to adjust to because it’s quite far removed from the other series, but as soon as it got going, I loved the differences. I literally couldn’t put this book down!

Also I would definitely like to point out that you really need to read Clare’s other books before this series! Not only would this spoil a lot for you, the cameos of other characters mean everything to me. I loved them.

“And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

I cannot even explain how much I adore the cast of this series. Each character was so great in there own ways and I admire Clare endlessly for creating such a vast range of characters. I can’t finish this review without a quick mention of the diversity in this book. Not only do we have gay faeries (and my favourite warlock you know who I mean), and a new Latinx Mexican friend who I adored, but also A CHILD WITH AUTISM. Ahh I could scream with how much I just appreciate this? Ty is so well represented, so well described and I’m so overly happy he is part of this world.

And I didn’t mean to descend into full on fangirling, but I think I managed to explain how much I love this book.

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be. But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

This was one of those books I didn’t know I needed. I loved it, and I can’t imagine the Shadowhunter world without it now. First of all, I love that this was based on Simon, but included a wide arc of characters. I actually liked Simon throughout The Mortal Instruments, but actually being with him through a book really helped me relate to him.

The set of the Shadowhunter Academy was awesome to! It gave a link to each of these stories, and offered up something new to the Shadowhunter world.

“I think sometimes it’s too hard to believe in yourself. You just do the things you’re not sure you can do.”

I also have to tell you guys that it only took me like four days to read this 650 page book?! I think this is due to the clever layout of the book, being cut into short stories of 50-100 pages each. Every day I would aim to read at least 2 stories, and it just flew by. Honestly, the short story concept was so well done in every way. Interlinking the characters by having them come into the Academy was such a clever way to read about side characters, and not stray too far from Simon’s story!

“You just act, in spite of not being certain. I don’t believe I can change the world–it sounds stupid to even talk about it–but I’m going to try.”

Overall, this book is a must for Shadowhunter fans! It’s such a great bridge between The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices, and I feel ready to continue with the next daunting series!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽


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Review: City of Heavenly Fire (#6) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

What an ending to such a beautiful, absorbing series. I’m so sad to leave Clary and her story behind, but so satisfied to look back on all that has happened in this 6 book journey!

Firstly, I can’t believe I really didn’t feel the size of this book at all. At 650 pages, it’s quite a big one, but the pages flew by and I barely noticed it. The part that took me longest to read was actually the prologue, as we were suddenly introduced to new characters, Emma Carstairs and her story. However, I pushed on through and found I loved having Emma mentioned throughout the book. Due to her presence, I feel ready to go and read her story in The Dark Artifices. 

“We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us.”

Due to the changing scenery, the pacing was excellent. The books contained so much emotion between different scenes and different characters, and over and over again I was faced with a sense of loss. I adore how Clare works with so many characters and I honestly believe it’s one of her greatest gifts. However, her writing greatly improves throughout The Mortal Instruments and I felt the difference here compared to City of Bones.

I did find the plot a little predictable, as most of the books in this series follow a similar plot, but it was filled with enough small twists and surprises to keep me on my toes.

“As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”

I have to also praise Clare for the incredible extended magical world she created. I don’t feel like she’s writing too many books set in this universe, which considering how much she is writing, is crazy. Most worlds have their limits, but this one does really feel limitless. I’m so excited to continue with her books, including The Dark Artifices, The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and many more as they are released! I cannot get enough of this world, and I adore how the characters are interlinked between the series in some small way, leaving me emotional reading mentions of characters from other series.

Overall, what an incredible end to The Mortal Instruments, leaving me feel satisfied but also wanting more from this world.

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Lost Souls (#5) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

I can’t believe I’m about to start the last book of The Mortal Instruments, as it’s now gotten to the point that I cannot imagine leaving Clary, Jace and their friends and families behind.

It took me only four days to read this wonder, as the pages just flew by. Once I’d gotten into this story, there was no way to get me back out again. I’ve loved all of the books so far, but again, this one stood out for me. Like City of Glass (which still stands as my favourite so far), City of Lost Souls is set in places other than New York. And it fits the story so well to travel, to see these people in beautiful places all over the world.

““I never cared,” he said.”

Again, the characters did not let me down. I’m going to guess that I’m not spoiling things for anyone if I say I ship Magnus and Alec. Honestly, those two have become one of my favourite couples of all time, and I loved their scenes in this book.

I adored how deeply the plot was interwoven with the characters and their relationships. I think that’s the reason why I flipped through this one so quickly, because I couldn’t help but need to know what was going to happen to the characters. Clary, once again, grows and matures in this book and I found she came across as such a strong young woman. I loved the emotional scenes between numerous characters, especially a specific scene between Clary and ‘real’ Jace which brought tears to my eyes.

““I wanted you anyway. I always wanted you.””

Overall, this book had so much substance and complexity that made it so compulsive! I’m definitely hyped to start City of Heavenly Fire despite it’s size and the smaller size of the text in my copy!

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Glass (#3) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

Amid the chaos of war, the Shadowhunters must decide to fight with the vampires, werewolves and other Downworlders – or against them. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary have their own decision to make: should they pursue the love they know is a mortal sin?

City of Glass is definitely my favourite book of The Mortal Instruments so far, and I finally started getting the same emotional feelings I did with The Infernal Devices! One of the best things for me was the writing. I love some of the quotes from this book, and just looking at them makes me realise how much Clare had developed as a writer by the time this book was published. After having adored The Infernal Devices so much, I feel like Clare is really coming into her own here. I can’t wait to see what Fallen Angels has to give!

My favourite thing about this book honestly could be the setting. I loved reading about New York but setting City of Glass in Idris just took it to the next level. The world description was absolutely beautiful and is the perfect magical setting.

“There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity.”

All of the characters really develop in this one, and I loved reading about the ways they bounce off each other. I’ve always loved Clary as a protagonist, and seeing her become stronger and grow into such a headstrong young woman is brilliant.

I love the differences in each character and they really have their own personalities. Of course with this book forcing everyone together we had even more people to focus on but it still worked! I’ve read a lot of bad reviews criticising the characters but let me tell you something. Sure, they’re flawed. No ones perfect, and they are HUMAN. We all have our flaws, make our own mistakes and deal with things differently. Writing good characters isn’t making them perfect. It’s making the reader be empathetic and sympathise with them, and forgive them for their mistakes. And maybe other readers just didn’t feel that, but I did.

“I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.”

Anyway, let’s talk about the plot! Fast paced, and made the pages fly by once the plot really kicks in. The second part of the book was just glorious for me, and I sped through it. There are so many twists and turns and I was constantly shook. Even though I guessed some of the bigger plot twists, I still found it enjoyable to read and had other surprises along the way!

Overall, I want to finish off by saying that I’ve read enough YA to realise this book isn’t perfect, and neither is the series. Of course it could be said to be similar to other books, we’re all inspired by each other in this world and that’s okay. Clare’s writing isn’t always the best but is definitely improving.

But personally, I loved it. It’s emotional, cheesy and flawed. But also fun, intriguing and beautiful. I’m so glad I gave this series a go, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Ashes (#2) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

Love and power are the deadliest temptations. Haunted by her past, Clary is dragged deeper into New York City’s terrifying underworld of demons and Shadowhunters – but can she control her feelings for a boy who can never be hers?

This book actually pleasantly surprised me! I liked it just a touch more than City of Bones and it felt like a perfect sequel to explore the Shadowhunting world further.

I just really feel like this book had everything, and it’s even more diverse than the first book. Firstly, we have this great mix of characters. Complicated families, complicated romance, complicated friendships. They’re all so real and relatable and I love that. Only certain authors can create such a big and diverse cast of characters and still have each and every one mean something in the story.

” “I’ve been thinking about you, too.”
“I really was sick. I swear. I almost died back there on the ship, you know.””

The thing I really felt was missing in City of Bones was here in City of Ashes. BIG action scenes with tons of Shadowhunters working together and blowing things up. These end up being some of my most memorable scenes and I just love them. The pages fly by!

Something else Clare is amazing at: making me not feel weird about the relationship two of these characters have. (I’m not going to say who because of spoilers for City of Bones, but think of the Lannisters and you’ll know who I mean). But honestly, hats off to her. I didn’t think anyone could make me read these private thoughts and not be sick all over the pages.

“”I know. Everytime you almost die, I almost die myself.””

I have one, tiny problem with this book though, that stopped it reaching 5 stars for me. I want to know more about the characters inner-workings. I feel like Clare is focusing so much on the bigger picture, that she’s missing so many gems that I think came with time and experience for her (as I didn’t feel like it was missing in The Infernal Devices). I wanted to see more of the thoughts/characteristics of side characters like Alec, that would just make me sympathise with everyone a little more!

Talking of Clare’s writing, it has definitely improved in this book! I have to say, this was also a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to improve so rapidly, and it’s made me even more excited to see what’s to come in City of Glass.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Bones (#1) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

This was actually my second read of City of Bones. I met Cassandra Clare years ago and read it for the first time then! But unfortunately, I wasn’t a massive fantasy reader and I didn’t quite click with the book. This time was definitely an improvement!

However, I did find it strange going back to The Mortal Instruments after The Infernal Devices. I wanted to read the prequels first as I’ve been told I’d understand TMI more by doing so, but I did find it difficult seeing Clare’s change in writing style. She definitely improved as she wrote, but I’m sure her writing will also improve throughout this series.

“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned:”

Of course this was still a brilliant book, and I really enjoyed it. Usually with fantasy, we discover the world after the protagonist. Discovering this world alongside Clary has a very special feel and made her and her friends very easy characters to relate to. Having Simon in the mix also made for a gentle transition into this new world.

“that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

I’m really excited for the rest of this series to play out, it’s definitely a page-turner and I’m enjoying it so much so far. At the moment I feel like The Infernal Devices is likely to hold a very special place in my heart, but The Mortal Instruments is sure to be up there too.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Clockwork Princess (#3) by Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads | Amazon

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?
The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.
Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

I am so overwhelmed right now, I don’t even know where to begin. I adored Clockwork Angel, and I loved Clockwork Prince, but this book has everything. It is a combination of everything I loved about both, and I’m just sitting here hoping I can put that amount of love into words.

The action is definitely back in this one, and once it picks up the pace it doesn’t disappoint. I felt like there just wasn’t enough in the second book, but Clockwork Princess definitely makes up for it. Again, the world building and exploration is just incredible. Living in England definitely makes it even more special as I really connected to where Clare was talking about, but the most impressive thing is how she captured the feeling of British countryside without having living here herself.

“Sometimes one must choose whether to be kind or honorable,” he said.”

Again, the characters are just so well written, and I found it even more so as the series continued. Clare has an incredible talent to make the reader sympathetic to even the most unlikely people, and I admire her for that so much. The way Clockwork Princess is constructed was also genius, and I loved how it flicked between scenes of different characters, keeping the tension and fast pace up.

I cannot write this review without mentioning the epilogue. My lovely friend and buddy-reader Chloe told me to be careful reading this late at night, and what did I do? Finish it at 1am. Of course this meant I was lying in bed, tears streaming down my face onto the pillow. And that is why I had to mention the epilogue – because it made me cry so much! Often, books will bring tears to my eyes, and I’ll feel emotional. But it’s rare that a book makes me sob. And oh, how Clockwork Princess made me sob.

“Sometimes one cannot be both.”

Emotionally, this book had it all. It made me laugh, cry, smile. It filled my heart with joy, only to break it into a thousand pieces. This book is a complete gem, a diamond, a shooting star. It is beauty, poetry, wonder. It might even be my favourite book of the year.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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