Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare

CLARE, CASSANDRA Clockwork Angel

 

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales, Inc

Release Date: August 31, 2010

Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Format: Hardback, ebook, audio

Rating: 5 Lattes

Heat Level: Light Roast

Blurb

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still. Discover the riveting first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….

First impression.

Before I even get into the review – I truly can’t believe I have never written a review of this book EVER. I’ve read it at least 7 times, and each time it is like falling for your first love all over again…

The book opens with Will and Jem out on patrol in the middle of the night in 1878 London. The two boys immediately captured my heart, and they have never left. While I certainly love Tessa, and though the story wouldn’t exist without her, it is always the relationship and bond between the boys that draws me back into the story.

What kept me reading (or didn’t).

Jem’s wisdom and almost shy kindness, and his patient, mostly amused way of dealing with Will. Will’s boldness and icy defection of anyone besides Jem who might dare to get close to him. Tessa’s sweet but courageous personality and fresh innocence as she is introduced to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

Though I have already admitted I have read this series multiple times, I am always amazed by the way Ms. Clare defines so many complex relationships between the characters. You can truly FEEL how much they care for each other, and when the story breaks their hearts, it will break yours also.

The other character I adore, is Magnus Bane. He is the voice of wisdom and calm throughout the Shadowhunter world. He is flippant, at times irreverent, and often pluckish, but his tender heart and willingness to help a hurting 17 year old boy makes him fun and refreshing as a counterpoint to the tension threading through the rest of the book.

After taste.

I felt everything these characters felt, including the evil ones. That is a testament to great writing, when as a reader, I can identify with – and to a point, sympathize even with the antagonist.

Overall impression.

While the Mortal Instruments Series came first, this series (The Infernal Devices) was my introduction to Shadowhunters, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the world Ms. Clare has created.

Quotes or Highlights

“Must you go? I was rather hoping you’d stay and be a ministering angel, but if you must go, you must.”
“I’ll stay,” Will said a bit crossly, and threw himself down in the armchair Tessa had just vacated. “I can minister angelically.”
“None too convincingly. And you’re not as pretty to look at as Tessa is,” Jem said, closing his eyes as he leaned back against the pillow.
“How rude. Many who have gazed upon me have compared the experience to gazing at the radiance of the sun.”
Jem still had his eyes closed. “If they mean it gives you a headache, they aren’t wrong.”
*****

“Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy–all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”

*****

“I see you’re determined to miss my point.”
“If you’re point is that there was a pretty girl in the room and it was distracting you, then I think I’ve taken your point handily.”
“You think she’s pretty?” Will was surprised; Jem rarely opinioned this sort of thing.
“Yes, and you do too.”
“I hadn’t noticed, really.”
“Yes, you have, and I’ve noticed you noticing.”

About the Author

Clare, Cassandra

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy, and coauthor of the Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. She also wrote The Shadowhunter’s Codex with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 36 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.

Purchase link:

Amazon

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The Awakening, by Tamara Leigh

The Awakening, TAMARA LEIGH

Title: The Awakening

Author: Tamara Leigh

Publisher: Tamara Leigh

Release Date: January 19, 2018

Genre: Religious and Inspirational Fiction, Medieval Romance

Format: eBook, paperback, audio

Rating: 5 Lattes

Heat Rating: Light Roast to Medium Roast

Blurb

The seventh book in the AGE OF FAITH series—featuring Lady Laura Middleton of THE YIELDING and Sir Lothaire Soames of THE VEXING.

FAR BETTER TO LOVE WITHOUT PROFIT…

Even if she must sell herself in marriage to the highest bidder, Lady Laura Middleton is determined to provide her daughter a home and protector. But when Queen Eleanor presents her cousin with four suitors, among them is one who believes Laura betrayed him ten years past. Despite her attempts to discourage his pursuit, he is determined to have her for the dowry needed to save his lands. Should he prevail, how is she to shield her daughter from the enemy who lurks within his walls? And what of her heart? If she reveals the truth of her betrayal, might he love her again?

…THAN LOVE NOT AND REAP BITTERNESS

Beware the Delilah, my son. Beware the Jezebel—advice Baron Lothaire Soames should have heeded as a young man. Now in need of funds, he faces marriage to the woman he lost to scandal. Though he vows to find another way to return prosperity to his lands, his former betrothed proves his only hope and he grudgingly vies to become her worthiest suitor—only to be struck by how little it takes his heart to pick up where it left off. Can he forgive what cannot be forgotten? More, will she forever yearn for the man who fathered her child?

My Review:

First impression.

So. Many. Secrets! It drove me crazy that they won’t just talk to each other! The author does a wonderful job setting up WHY they keep things to themselves, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read when you want them to….well….kiss and make up?

Before I get into the main characters of this book, I have loved seeing the evolution of Queen Eleanor’s presence in this series. She is ultra-manipulative, but in this book her intelligence and care for her subjects has never been clearer. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

I was not at all impressed with Baron Soames in The Vexing, but as with all of this author’s leading men it didn’t take me long to fall in love with him.

Lady Laura irked me more than once for her refusal to tell Lothaire the truth, but that frustration also kept me reading.

What kept me reading (or didn’t).

While I absolutely adored Lothaire Soames (I especially like saying his name.), it was Lady Laura, Clarice, and Sebille that drew me into the story.

The way the author handled the topic of rape was sensitive yet left me, the reader, feeling the traumatic after effects. When the truth came out, all my frustration with Lady Laura was removed, because it was clear she might not have been believed if she’d spoken up sooner. I won’t spoil the story by revealing how, but Lothaire needed to SEE the emotional and mental impact her past had on her.

And the amount of respect and honor Lothaire showed her when he finally understood made me love him all the more!

By the time all of this was worked out, I wasn’t anywhere near done with the book, and I had NO idea where the story would go. Which leads me to the reason this book earned 5 Lattes and not 4.

The undercurrent of manipulation upon manipulation between Lothaire’s mother, sister, Clarice, and Lady Laura was expertly written. I truly had no idea who did what until the very end, and I LOVE it when a story surprises me like that.

I don’t think I’ve noted this before, but I listen to these books on audio, and the narrator, Mary Sarah Agliotta is fantastic. I listen to a LOT of audio books, and these are some of the best out there.

After taste.
While not my favorite of the Age of Faith Books (The Unveiling and The Vexing hold top spots!), it is one I will read again.

Overall impression.

I adore the ‘world’ the author has created. I feel like I know the families, and with each book, I can’t wait to see what our dear Queen Eleanor gets up to next!

About the Author *

 Tamara Leigh

Tamara Leigh holds a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology. In 1993, she signed a 4-book contract with Bantam Books. Her first medieval romance, Warrior Bride, was released in 1994 and nominated for a RITA award. Continuing to write for the general market, she was published with HarperCollins and Dorchester and earned awards and spots on national bestseller lists.

In 2006, Tamara’s first inspirational contemporary romance, Stealing Adda, was released. In 2008, Perfecting Kate was optioned for a movie and Splitting Harriet won an ACFW Book of the Year award. The following year, Faking Grace was nominated for a RITA award. In 2011, Tamara wrapped up her Southern Discomfort series with the release of Restless in Carolina.

When not in the middle of being a wife and mother, Tamara dips her writer’s pen in ink and nose in a good book. In 2012, she returned to the historical romance genre with Dreamspell: A Medieval Time Travel Romance, followed by the Age of Faith series, which now includes the seventh book, The Awakening. Tamara’s #1 Bestsellers—Lady at Arms, Lady Of Eve, Lady Of Conquest, and Lady Betrayed—are among her general market romances to be rewritten as clean reads. Baron Of Blackwood, the third book in the #1 bestselling series, The Feud, is now available.

Tamara lives near Nashville with her husband, a German Shepherd who has never met a squeaky toy she can’t destroy, and a feisty Morkie who keeps her company during long writing stints. And then there’s Boog, her grandpuppy…

Connect with Tamara at her website http://www.tamaraleigh.com, her blog The Kitchen Novelist, her email tamaraleightenn@gmail.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For new releases and special promotions, subscribe to Tamara Leigh’s mailing list: www.tamaraleigh.com

*For an added bonus – be sure to check out the link on her website to her Cover Evolutions!

Purchase links:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo

 

The Vexing, by Tamara Leigh

 

The Vexing

Title: The Vexing (Age of Faith #6)

Author: Tamara Leigh

Publisher: Tamara Leigh

Release Date: May 12, 2017

Genre: Christian Medieval Romance

Format: Paperback, Audio, Kindle

Rating: 5 Lattes

Heat Level: Light Roast

Purchase links

Amazon, AudibleiTunes

 

Blurb

A VEXING LADY
Answering her father’s summons to return home, Lady Beata Fauvel must evade capture by noblemen who seek to wed a great heiress. But when she falls into the hands of Queen Eleanor of England, she discovers her sovereign has plans of her own for the lady known France over as The Vestal Widow. Now Beata must not only escape the knight entrusted with ensuring she does not wed without permission, but survive a storm-tossed sea and revelation of a long-buried secret that could destroy her family. And what of a heart that wants what it cannot have? Will it only ever beat for the queen’s man?

A REPENTANT KNIGHT
For years, Sir Durand Marshal has faithfully served his queen as penance for betrayal of the Wulfrith family. When he rescues a woman pursued by vassals of the French king, he is charged with delivering to England the nearly scandalous lady who has only a name in common with the one he once loved. Though he never expects to feel anything beyond annoyance for the outspoken Lady Beata, he finds himself drawn to yet another woman denied him. Can he fulfill his duty to his liege? Or will he forsake his redemption and forever ruin his reputation—more, the lady’s?

 

Review

I absolutely ADORE this series and have listened to the audio version multiple times.

In the previous Age of Faith books, Durand Marshal is the man you love to hate, yet despite everything, you end up rooting for him to gain his redemption after so many bad decisions.

First impression.

LOOK AT THE COVER! It is absolutely gorgeous.

I don’t know why, but in the previous books, I didn’t visualize him to be as young as he is, so at first I had a difficult time matching his character with the story. It took getting past the LOOOOONG shipwreck scene before I really felt like I had a good connection with him.
I loved Beata from the beginning and knew immediately she was the perfect match for wayward Durand. She, like the other ladies in the Age of Faith series, was incredibly strong in spite of all that had happened to her, yet her vulnerability made her extremely relateable.

What kept me reading. (Or didn’t.)
It was wonderful to get glimpses of the Wulfrith’s and their families as the story progressed and I will confess, I cried when it appeared we may have lost one of them. Big, fat, ugly tears. Life in the middle ages was very hard, and while I trust this author as one who doesn’t often kill off major characters, it would have been very believable.

I will note that the emphasis on faith and the church was significantly less in this book than it was in the others, and I kind of missed it. It was there, but their faith did not play a huge role in either of their character arcs.

I will also shamelessly admit I have listened to the final chapter at LEAST four times. The ending is so wonderfully written it loses none of the impact even though I know word for word what will happen.

After Taste
Baron Marshal has a great ring to it.

Overall Impression

While I felt like the shipwreck scene dragged on for me, over all this book ranks second on my list of the 6 so far in the series. Garr and Annyn from “The Unveiling” will always be my favorite because…Garr.
I would recommend this book to all ages, and if you love historical romance, you do not want to miss this series. And I absolutely can NOT recommend the audio version enough. I could honestly listen to the narrator read a phone book.

About the Author

Tamara Leigh

Tamara Leigh holds a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology. In 1993, she signed a 4-book contract with Bantam Books. Her first medieval romance, Warrior Bride, was released in 1994 and nominated for a RITA award. Continuing to write for the general market, she was published with HarperCollins and Dorchester and earned awards and spots on national bestseller lists.

In 2006, Tamara’s first inspirational contemporary romance, Stealing Adda, was released. In 2008, Perfecting Kate was optioned for a movie and Splitting Harriet won an ACFW Book of the Year award. The following year, Faking Grace was nominated for a RITA award. In 2011, Tamara wrapped up her Southern Discomfort series with the release of Restless in Carolina.

When not in the middle of being a wife and mother, Tamara dips her writer’s pen in ink and nose in a good book. In 2012, she returned to the historical romance genre with Dreamspell: A Medieval Time Travel Romance, followed by the Age of Faith series, which now includes the seventh book, The Awakening. Tamara’s #1 Bestsellers—Lady at Arms, Lady Of Eve, Lady Of Conquest, and Lady Betrayed—are among her general market romances to be rewritten as clean reads. Baron Of Blackwood, the third book in the #1 bestselling series, The Feud, is now available.

Tamara lives near Nashville with her husband, a German Shepherd who has never met a squeaky toy she can’t destroy, and a feisty Morkie who keeps her company during long writing stints. And then there’s Boog, her grandpuppy…

Connect with Tamara at her website http://www.tamaraleigh.com, her blog The Kitchen Novelist, her email tamaraleightenn@gmail.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For new releases and special promotions, subscribe to Tamara Leigh’s mailing list: http://www.tamaraleigh.com