Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #266: Faves of 2019


Today's Topic: 
Favorite Books I Read In 2019

Happy New Year's Eve! I'm finally back for another Top Ten Tuesday after being absent for a couple weeks. For this topic I couldn't pick just ten so instead I'm sharing my top 15 of the past year. I highly, highly recommend any and all of these if you're a fantasy fan! 




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

Monday, December 30, 2019

2020 Challenges and Resolutions


Hi everyone! Can you believe 2020 is only a couple days away? This year has seriously flown by even faster than the last one. I think it's because I was SO busy. I'm hoping I can take more time to relax next year. Today I'm sharing the reading challenges I'm participating in for 2020 as well as my non-bookish resolutions.


READING CHALLENGES

RETELLINGS CHALLENGE


It's back! I brought the Retellings Challenge back for 2019 and, while it didn't go as smoothly as I might have liked, I still had a great time hosting and participating! My goal for this year is going to be High Fae, which is 16-20 retellings.

Top 3 TBR: Bright Raven Skies, Scavenge the Stars, Red Hood


AUDIOBOOK CHALLENGE


I've participated in the Audiobook Challenge every year since I started blogging and I will never NOT sign up for it! I love this challenge even though I always forget to link up my reviews. Whoops! I can't wait to find a whole bunch of new audiobooks in 2020.


POPSUGAR CHALLENGE


I'm doing it again! I failed somewhat miserably in 2019 but the 2020 challenge looks like so much fun! I'll definitely have to step outside my comfort zone for this one.


GOODREADS CHALLENGE

My challenge for 2019 was to read 80 books, which I barely surpassed. For 2020 I'm going to set my goal a tiny bit higher to 85 books. This is a bit ambitious since I've been reading more adult fantasy which takes significantly more time. Here's hoping I can meet my goal!


OFF-BLOG RESOLUTIONS
  1. Run a 10k and log 450 miles - Running a 10k was part of my resolutions last year and I didn't quite get there. I did run several 5ks - in real life ones! I ran the 2019 Star Wars Rival Run 5k and the Fall Feast 5k at Walt Disney World, the Castaway Cay 5k at Disney's Castaway Cay, and a local Halloween 5k. This year I'm determined to hit my 10k goal so I've already signed up for the 2020 Princess Run and the Rival Run 10k races!  
  2. Get back on Duolingo and stick to it - Learning Spanish with Duolingo has been a goal of mine for years but I've just never stuck to it. This year I am determined to set small goals for myself and meet them so that by the end of the year I've at least made SOME progress! I live in Florida so knowing Spanish would be a very useful skill. I also took Spanish in high school and college so I feel like I already have a leg up. 
  3. Take more time to reflect and meditate - Every year I say I'm going to get back to meditating regularly and every year I say "I'll do it tomorrow." Something I've talked about on the blog once or twice is that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I started taking medication for it in late 2018 and it has made a world of difference! I know that meditation and self reflection are both extremely helpful and important though. This year I hope to use meditation apps to keep myself accountable.  
  4. Make my way through my watchlist - Over the last several years I've branched out a lot in my film tastes. I used to watch whatever blockbuster was popular, sticking mainly to fantasy, but now I find that I enjoy movies that make me think a bit more. My husband hates them, so it makes it difficult, but in 2020 I'd like to pick a movie a week to sit down and watch and enjoy. Just call it "me time."  



That's it for 2020! In 2019 I made five non-bookish resolutions and actually (kind of) accomplished three of them. Wish me luck at doing a bit better in 2020!

Are you signed up for any challenges?
Do you make New Year's resolutions?
Let me know in the comments!
Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 Reading Challenges Final Update


Happy Saturday, everyone! YES I'm still alive! Things have been hectic with the holidays but today I'm sharing my 2019 reading challenges final update and looking back at what I've managed to accomplish this year. This year I brought back the Retellings Challenge and signed up for a few more. I met most of my goals, thankfully!


AUDIOBOOK CHALLENGE


I love this challenge so much! I've been participating for years and every year I'm so excited when I surpass my goal. This year I committed to 30+ books and surpassed that by 9!

THE BEST:
  • The Bear and the Nightingale
  • Ash Princess
  • Truly Devious
THE WORST:
  • A Head Full of Ghosts
  • After
  • The Last


RETELLINGS CHALLENGE


Hurray, the Retellings Challenge was back this year! I was super excited to do pretty well on this one. I set my goal at 11-15 books and read 15. I'm hoping to read a couple more next year!

THE BEST:
  • Stain
  • Wild Savage Stars
  • House of Salt and Sorrows
THE WORST:
  • The Deathless Girls
  • Lost Girl
  • Last of Her Name


POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE

Well, this year wasn't quite as successful as last year, but I still checked almost every box! You can see everything I read for this challenge on my 2019 Challenges page, here! Admittedly, I did not go nearly as far outside my comfort zone as last year. I mostly fit books I wanted to read already into the categories. That's probably why I failed!


BACKLIST CHALLENGE


I actually found this challenge to be a bit too easy, much like the new release challenge. This year I'm going to try to find something new to replace it!

THE BEST:
  • Ash Princess
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe


GOODREADS CHALLENGE


This year I set my goal to 80 books and actually surpassed it, largely thanks to a reading binge a bit earlier this year. The last couple months have been abysmal. I'm hoping to do better next year! 



So that's it! I completed some of my goals this year but one didn't work out quite as well as I'd hoped. Keep an eye out in the next week or two for my 2020 challenge goal post!

Do you participate in reading challenges?
Did you meet your goals this year?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

2019 End Of Year Survey



2018 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 82 (so far)
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Fantasy



1. Best Book You Read In 2018?
The City of Brass or Ninth House. I can't choose.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Finale by Stephanie Garber. It just wasn't up to par with the rest of the series.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. The characters all did complete 180s and the big twist was bizarrely out of left field.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Maybe Stain by A.G. Howard?? I feel like I talked a couple people into giving it a read.

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?
Series started: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Sequel: Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez
Series ender: Finale by Stephanie Garber. Even though it wasn't as good as the first two, it was still great!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?
S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Over the Top by JVN

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzie Lee

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Ninth House. It's so in depth I feel like I'll have to before book two!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?
Stain by A.G. Howard

11. Most memorable character of 2018?
Mordred from The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2018 to finally read?
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?
"Ah yes, the most dangerous person at the party is always the girl sitting alone with a book."

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?
Shortest: Gideon Falls, Vol. 2 by Jeff Lemire, 136 pages
Longest: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, 533 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
The twist at the end of The Guinevere Deception was so shocking I sat up and slammed the book down.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Louise and Reid from Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Nahri and Ali from The City of Brass

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Stain by A.G. Howard

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?
Grey from A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

23. Best 2018 debut you read?
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I can't decide between Stain by A.G. Howard and Wilder Girls by Rory Power

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzie Lee

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?
Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?
Wilder Girls by Rory Power

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I was promised vampires.



1. Favorite review that you wrote in 2019?
Probably Ten by Gretchen McNeil because it was a book I gave a second chance.

2. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This one where I talked about how disappointed I was in Carnival Row.

3. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
ALA in Washington DC! I loved that I got to spend time with some of my favorite bookish friends!

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?
Making it to my fifth year of blogging!

5. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Finding time to blog and comment on my friends' blogs! I've been so incredibly busy for the second half of the year. It makes me feel like the worst blogging buddy. :(

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My 5 star prediction post and giveaway.

7. Best bookish discovery?
I discovered that I really enjoy a lot of adult fantasy!

8.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes! My final challenge updates will be coming soon.



1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?
Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?
Bright Raven Skies by Kristina Perez

5. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer



The annual end of year survey was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner!
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #265: Winter TBR


Today's Topic: 
Winter TBR

Happy Tuesday! YAY! Finally an easy topic. I've skipped a couple weeks because I honestly didn't have the mental capacity to think up freebie topics. TBR lists I can do, even if I never stick to them...



All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis
Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
Crescent City (Apparently the title is House of Earth and Blood?) by Sarah J. Maas
Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian



Havenfall by Sara Holland
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett


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

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Weekly Recap: 12/8 - 12/14



HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week has been busy, to no one's surprise. I've been scrambling trying to get ready for my family to visit for Christmas and it has been wild! I've finished redecorating my office and our guest room. Photos of the office coming soon, I promise! I also finally finished The Bear and the Nightingale - hurray! I've definitely found myself getting more into adult fantasy lately, which is odd. Some of my favorites are still YA series, but I'm certainly branching out a bit more. Do you find that your reading preferences change with age?


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

  


THIS WEEK I READ



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

On Tuesday I posted the 2020 Retellings Challenge sign ups
On Wednesday I shared Goodreads recs I actually want to read
Saturday book review of The Bear and the Nightingale


UPCOMING REVIEWS

Undecided - I like to keep things interesting.


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Audiobook Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 323
Add to Goodreads

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

The Bear and the Nightingale is a book I've been wary of starting for years. I was intrigued by the summary and the fandom but everyone has told me that it's slow and I probably wouldn't like it. The mood struck recently and I decided to go for it, even knowing it would probably take some time to get through. I'm so glad I stuck with it!

Vasilisa lives with her father and siblings in the Russian wilderness. The story begins when she is born and follows her throughout her life. Vasya can see the spirits no one else can - the people say she is a witch. I loved Vasya! I loved how strong and sure of herself she was from a very young age. Although her world is full of misogyny and people set on marrying her off, Vasya never accepts "a woman's lot in life" and forges her own path.

This story is steeped in Russian folklore. Admittedly, I am not well versed on Russian tales, but even I picked up on a few references from other fairy tales. Although this book is indeed slow, I loved all of the mythology throughout. The household spirits and forest spirits were all so interesting and their individual personalities were so much fun to read. The world, while small, is wonderfully built and made me feel like I was there with the family in the harsh Russian winter.

Vasya's life is fascinating, but this 323 page book did take me a couple weeks to get through. I switched from a hardcover to the audiobook once I realized it might take forever. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the story because I definitely did! It wasn't even a particularly heavy book. It was just long and meandering and at times a bit boring.

I am excited to see what happens in book two of this series! I've heard that it's much faster paced and that there may even be a hint of romance. It was certainly set up, so I'm eager to find out. If you're a lover of intricate fairy tales and folklore, this is a book you definitely do not want to miss.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

5 Goodreads recs I actually want to read


Every now and then I browse the Goodreads recommendations pages. Most of the time they're books I know about and know I don't care to read. Sometimes they're books I already have on my physical TBR but haven't added on GR yet. Other times I'll see books I haven't heard of but sound awful. For example, Goodreads is determined that I am obsessed with zombie books for some reason.

Last night I dug through the recommendations tabs and found five new-to-me books that actually sounded really good! I'm hoping to get to some of them in 2020!



When the Earth's rotation slowed to a crawl mankind was plunged into a harsh world of burning hot days and endless, arctic nights. Some fled to the mountains for shelter. Others took to the seas, sailing forever in the perfect gold between the night and the day; a place known as the Seventh Hour.

Liv was raised aboard a ship chasing the Seventh. She's never seen the night, never known true cold, and when a storm destroys her home she’s on land for the first time in her life. She’s alone, surrounded by strangers and perils she couldn’t have imagined in her worst nightmares. Her only chance at survival is Grayson.

He saved her. He’ll protect her. He hates her.

Old grudges run deeper than the sea, and Liv and Gray will have to overcome them together to make it to morning.

To survive the longest night.



This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.



At first glance, Phil Pendleton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat together overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to set his own bedtimes and eat candy whenever he wants. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.

What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life.



Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.



Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.



Have you read any of these?
What's the last great Goodreads rec you got? 
Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2020 Retellings Reading Challenge


Hi everyone! The Retellings Reading Challenge is back for another year and I'm so excited to be doing this all again! Last year the challenge pushed participants to read retellings they may never have discovered and this year we're back with an all new BINGO card full of new prompts!


THE GUIDELINES
  • This challenge will run from January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020.
  • Books must be read and reviewed in 2020. (You don't have to review books to count towards your goal, but you do have to review them if you want them to count as giveaway entries.)
  • Audiobooks, e-books, re-reads, short stories, novellas, and graphic novels all count, and you can read adult, YA, and middle grade books for this challenge.
  • It's also totally fine to use books from this challenge to fulfill other reading challenges and vice versa. 
  • ALL retellings count! 
  • You don't have to be a book blogger to participate! You can link up and track your progress on Goodreads, Instagram, Youtube, or wherever you share books!
  • Sign up below with your post, shelf, etc. and leave a comment letting me know what your personal goal is. 
  • Link up your reviews each quarter on the post provided! (Bookmark this page to make sure you don't miss a link-up!) 

CHALLENGE LEVELS
  • Silent Assassin: 1-5 Retellings
  • Warrior Princess: 6-10 Retellings
  • Elemental Witch: 11-15 Retellings
  • High Fae: 16-20 Retellings
  • Fairest of them All: 21-25+ Retellings

RETELLINGS BINGO
  • Each block describes a book or type of retelling. For example, "POC author" means that you can read any retelling written by an author of color to complete that category. "Edgar Allen Poe" means that you can read a retelling of any Poe work. 
  • Getting BINGO (making a line vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the card) will get you an additional 5 entries in the end of year giveaway!
  • If you get a Bingo blackout (filling the entire card), you get an additional 10 entries in the giveaway! 
  • Right click to save the card to your computer!


GOODREADS GROUP
  • The Goodreads group can be located HERE!
  • We will have monthly group reads and suggestion threads to help complete bingo categories. 

QUARTERLY UPDATES & LINK-UPS
  • Link-ups will be posted here at the beginning of each quarter for you to share your reviews!
  • Come back throughout the quarter to link up your reviews. 
  • Each linked review will count as an extra extra entry in the end of year giveaway.
  • Giveaway will be posted in December 2020. 

EMAIL LIST
  • This year we will have an email list to send out reminders and updates!
  • Emails will only be sent once a quarter with updates and reminders to link up.
  • Sign up HERE if you don't want to miss any link-ups or giveaways!

LISTS TO GET YOU STARTED

HOW TO JOIN
  • Enter your information in the link-up below (Your name @ Your blog name).
  • Make a post with your goals and be sure to link back to this post!
  • Join the Goodreads group!
  • Tweet about the reading challenge using #2020RetellingsChallenge.


SIGN UP
Sunday, December 8, 2019

Weekly Recap: 12/1 - 12/7



HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week I finally took a couple days off of candle making to do a bit of nothing. I desperately needed some mental health days and they were absolutely wonderful! Now it's back to full time madness as I get the rest of my current orders ready to go and prepare for my family to visit at Christmas. We're trying to get the guest room redecorated in time so we'll see how it goes! This week I also finished City of Brass and, hurray, I have a new obsession. So, yay me! I have to collect all the editions. Anyone else have a serious problem with needing to collect your faves?


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

  


THIS WEEK I READ



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

On Monday I posted the final Retellings Challenge update
On Thursday I asked how long is too long between books?
Saturday book review of The City of Brass


UPCOMING REVIEWS



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, December 7, 2019

Book Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 533
Add to Goodreads


Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for...

I have avoided The City of Brass for two years for one simple reason: it is massive. The book itself was intimidating at over 500 pages and the audiobook was approximately one million hours long. But recently the mood struck and I decided to finally give it a chance. Within a few hours of audio I was absolutely hooked and had to switch to the ebook halfway through because I just couldn't wait to see what happened! Suffice it to say I'm glad I took the chance.

Nahri lives in Cairo making a living through a combination of healing and stealing. At one healing ceremony she accidentally summons a djinn and is swept away on an adventure to a world she'd thought was only fantasy. Much of this story is about Nahri and her journey to Daevabad with Dara. There is a lot of walking and talking and I never grew bored of it because I loved every moment I got to spend with these two characters! Nahri is tough and smart and jaded and Dara is a mess of a warrior. I loved them so much, together and separately!

Of course, there are many more characters I could talk about, but my favorite (obviously) was Alizayd. He starts out as a supremely unlikable character who immediately dislikes Nahri, who distrusts him (as she should), but eventually he grew on me and their relationship was one of the most interesting parts of this story.

The world of The City of Brass was as amazing as its characters! Daevabad was fascinating and, while I never fully understood all of the lore, I did love spending time in the world the author created. The magic system was complex and the mythology built up around the world was one can't wait to dig into deeper. Every time we were given another glimpse into the vast history of the djinn I was on the edge of my seat.

There isn't much I can say about the story without giving things away, but I was absolutely enthralled from beginning to end. The City of Brass has definitely found a spot on my favorites shelf, which is unfortunate because it means I have to locate several editions to collect. There were so many twists and turns and the ending caught me completely off guard! I can't wait to dive right into book two.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

How long is too long between books?


Since 2014 I've read YA books almost exclusively, although I do venture into adult fantasy and horror more often now. Something I've come to depend on is that my favorite series will release books every year. Any longer than that and readers start to wonder how they'll ever wait for the next book.

One series that has defied this multiple times is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. The publication date for book two (and now book three) was pushed back multiple times. There were two years between A Torch Against the Night and A Reaper at the gates, which was pushed back from one. I still remember how people cried about the delay and then the same happened with the still untitled book four. It was pushed to 2020 and the Goodreads comments started rolling in.


Yesterday I saw a post from Sabaa Tahir about finishing the "dirty draft" of Ember 4 and immediately ran over to Goodreads to double check the date, only to be greeted with "June 2021" as the publication date. In case you hadn't heard about it, yes, there will now be a three year gap between books three and four. I cried a little and then went to see what other YA books have had such a long gap between them. I couldn't find any, but did find a few articles about how you have to pump out a book a year to keep reader's interest. Yikes, I'm glad I'm not a writer with that pressure on my shoulders.

I did find a few other YA series with small gaps between books. The Lady Janies by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows are published every two years and there was a three year gap between The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix but most YA books do seem to come out every year.

I absolutely still plan on picking up Ember 4, but I do wonder at what point people lose patience or just forget about a series (see George R.R. Martin). How long are you willing to wait between books in a series? What other book series do you know of that have been delayed?

UPDATE: In March 2020 the publication date for Ember4 (A Sky Beyond the Storm) was changed to December 2020.