Saturday, June 27, 2020

ARC Review: Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Pages: 784
Add to Goodreads

Reviews for book 1 & book 2

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt. 

And THAT is how you end a trilogy. I was absolutely scared going into The Empire of Gold. I loved the first two books so much, and I've seen so many series end on a rough note, that I just didn't want the same to happen here. I wanted to go out still loving this one with my whole heart and I'm so pleased to report that I absolutely do. S.A. Chakraborty has earned a spot on my all time favorites shelf.

I was a bit unsure at the beginning of this book with two of the main characters being back in the human world. The first chunk of this story takes place with Nahri and Ali in Cairo and I was definitely eager to get back to the magic, but I ended up loving the relationship development between these two!

Dara, of course, was my favorite from the first two books and I loved every second he was on the page. We all know Dara is super problematic, but he grows so much throughout this series and this book takes him to another level. His chapters were much more dark and grim, but necessary. His relationship to the city and the Nahids was fascinating as it unfolded and I loved the complexity of his character growth.

So, so much happens in The Empire of Gold. Ali and Nahri travel to multiple new locations and we have the chance to meet so many amazing, new characters! This finale deserved every one of its 784 pages and I would have loved to have had a little more. It isn't often that I'm obsessed with a series that isn't romance heavy, but S.A. Chakraborty made me fall completely in love with every one of these beautiful characters as well as Daevabad.

As sad as I am to let this world go, I am so pleased with how everything was wrapped up. I wasn't sure how she'd pull it off, but she did it perfectly! I really have nothing more to say without just fangirling about how perfect this book and series are. I can't wait to read it again!


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday #279: All-time favorites


Today's Topic: 
All-Time Favorites


Happy Tuesday! What a fun topic! I chose this one because I knew my answers have changed for SURE! You can find my original choices for this topic in this top ten post from a million years ago. It was only my 35th TTT and now I'm nearing 300!



An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty



Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag


Thank goodness 2020 is halfway over. I don't think I've ever felt this way about time moving by, but I can't wait to be in 2021. Alas, no one is here to hear me complain about how awful this year has been. Let's get to the books!


BEST BOOK YOU'VE READ IN 2020


I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful ending to this series! I was so lucky to have gotten an advance copy and it definitely made all of this a bit more bearable. More on that in my review later this week!


BEST SEQUEL YOU'VE READ IN 2020


Other than Empire of Gold? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Heir of Fire! I read the first two books years ago and never continued the series. This one definitely took it in a different direction, but I'm excited now to see where it goes.


NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN'T READ YET, BUT WANT TO


I LOVED Boneless Mercies, so Seven Endless Forests was a preorder that I still haven't gotten around to reading. I have to be in the right mood for Tucholke's books and it hasn't struck yet.


MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF 2020


Hands down, Blood & Honey! I was a bit behind on reading Serpent & Dove but it became one of my favorite reads of 2019. I've already preordered a few different editions. Whoops.


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT 


I was SO excited for Crescent City! While I never did get all the way into Throne of Glass, ACOTAR is one of my favorite books, so I'd hoped Crescent City would be amazing. It was so bad I couldn't even finish it.


BIGGEST SURPRISE


Grimdark fantasy has never really been my thing, but I gave Prince of Thorns and chance and the series really gripped me! Jorg is literally the worst character but I love this book. I still need to finish the last in the series.


FAVORITE NEW TO YOU OR DEBUT AUTHOR


This was my first Kendare Blake book and I have no idea how I waited so long to read it! I think I picked it up once before and wasn't sure about the writing style, but I'm so glad I gave it another chance.


NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH


Hal! Oh my goodness, I was not prepared for how much I was going to love this book and its characters!


NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER


I'm choosing Nirrim and Sid and you can't make me pick between them.


BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY


I don't cry over books, but this one broke my heart just like every other in the series.


BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY


Echo North again! It's just SO SWEET!


FAVORITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION


It wasn't my favorite movie of the year, but 2020's The Invisible Man was certainly an original take on the story!


FAVORITE POST YOU'VE DONE THIS YEAR

I would very much like to skip this question :)


MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU'VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR


There's just so much going right on this gorgeous cover! I can't wait to see the Fairyloot sprayed edges edition.


BOOKS YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

  

Aside from those already mentioned, these three are books I am dying to get my hands on!



What was your favorite read so far this year?
What sequel are you excite for?
Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Weekly Recap: 6/14 - 6/20



HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi, everyone! Look at me, going two weeks without a recap post. Let's just dive right into the Kovu update, shall we? The last few weeks have been A LOT. First, Kovu's pneumonia was getting worse by the day. We did a full body CT scan and a tracheal wash so that we could get a culture from his lungs to figure out what bacteria was growing. The CT returned a lot we didn't expect: his liver shunt surgery failed and he had fluid around his heart and lungs, as well as in his stomach. Hurray! That day we also found out that he had a very resistant bacteria in his ears and one of the two drugs that could cure it, he's allergic to. Woo! The other had to be special ordered from a compounding pharmacy and still isn't here. Finally, we got the results back from the culture only to find that he doesn't have pneumonia anymore - now he has kennel cough. Oh, and he also got stung by something and his foot swelled to double its size. :) So, like I said, it has been a lot. Thankfully, we THINK we have a diagnosis to explain most of it, which he is now on medication for and he follows up in another week.

That is why I haven't been around lately. :)))

In my reading life, I have been in a slump. Again. :) But I think I've finally found a book I'm enjoying! I also bought maaayyybbeeee a few too many books since my last update. Oops. Also, I am determined to be back on the blog starting this week. I am NOT going to let it die. 


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

   
   
  



THIS WEEK I READ

  


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Friday ARC review of Burn Our Bodies Down


UPCOMING REVIEWS



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, June 19, 2020

ARC Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Title: Burn Our Bodies Down 
Author: Rory Power
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Add to Goodreads


Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Last year, Wilder Girls became one of my unexpected favorite books of all time. I am obsessed with weird horror books and Wilder Girls certainly fit the bill. When I saw that Rory Power was writing a new horror novel, I couldn't wait to grab a copy and dive in!

Burn Our Bodies Down follows Margot on her quest to find family outside of her mother, the only relative she's known. As luck would have it, Margot stumbles upon a clue to help her get there and follows it to Phalene, where she finds her grandmother and a town that's wary of her. At first, Margot is thrilled to have found what she's been searching for, but things gradually become more strange as she realizes there's something sinister about her grandmother and their home. 

My favorite thing about Burn Our Bodies Down, like with Wilder Girls, is the incredible world building. Rory Power knows how to craft a world that draws you in and makes you feel uneasy from the very start. Even before Margot found her way to Phalene, I was already feeling that creeping sense of dread this author is so great at creating. 

While this book did a great job at building tension and creating an incredibly atmospheric world, I couldn't help but feel like it was missing something. The horror aspect I expected took way too long to show up and things were a bit too slow for my taste. I am always here for the super weird, but the delivery of this just didn't hit the same way as Wilder Girls. I think part of my issue is that much of this book feels like your standard contemporary fiction, which isn't something I usually care for. 

Still, Burn Our Bodies Down had some wild twists at the end and I definitely enjoyed the creepy farm setting. There were lots of unique ideas here and I'm eager to see what Rory Power writes next! 



Sunday, May 31, 2020

Weekly Recap: 5/24 - 5/30



HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Well, this week has been a mess, hasn't it? Every time it seems like 2020 can't possibly get worse, it goes and proves us wrong. I'm unable to attend protests at the moment, but there are other ways to help. If you have the means, you can donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, the Minnesota ACLU, or to the George Floyd Memorial Fund. You can also sign the Justice for George Floyd Petition on Change.org.

My good news this week is that Kovu is doing quite a bit better. His sprained ankle is mostly healed and he's almost up to 10 pounds! Unfortunately, the pneumonia is back. It's always something. He's already a week into antibiotics and we're hopeful he'll be fully better soon! I was also able to get some reading in, although I've been in a slump since the end of Empire of Gold (it was amazing). Fingers are crossed that something pulls me out of it soon!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

   


THIS WEEK I READ

  


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Wednesday DNF review of Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood


UPCOMING REVIEWS

We'll see what happens.


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!