Book Review

Book Review: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction fantasy
Length: 533 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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…

THIS IS HOW TO START A SERIES.

Whoa, hot dang, THIS IS MY JAM. Magical fantasy historical fiction-ness? Y’all I CAN’T EVEN. I am an emotional wreck after consuming this and am so glad Fiction No Chaser’s review convinced me to read it.

YOU’VE READ THIS RIGHT? If not, I recommend with my entire bookish soul. I feel that should be the end of this review, but also, let me throw out some more pieces to love.

This world-building was *in sing-song voice* faaaaabulous. I was there. I also love books with djinn in them, so I should have expected this to be a winner from the synopsis. This book kept a beautiful pace of slow, to action, and round again that kept me wanting to flip pages even during the “slower” sections.

Nahri is the heroine I didn’t know I had been missing in my fantasy reads lately. Girl is stubborn, feisty, full of self-preservation (that will leave her enemies, IN RUINS, mark my words) and crazy intuitive. She is brilliant and kept me on my toes because she actually made good choices in bad situations. I also love that Nahri wasn’t a damsel in distress. Even better, she actually sucked at what she was supposed to be great doing. Why is this better? Because I personally can’t stand it when a character is all of a sudden great at every little thing. That’s not realistic. You gotta work for it.

I don’t even know where I stand on the romance aspect. I will say, I LOVE Dara. What a great character. A 1400+ year-old Daeva (djinn) who has fears (like water), and is so hardened by his past that he’s become a biiiit jaded. He’s also on occasion, not the nicest, and has some things to work through (let me help you Dara…). I could not get enough of him. He is so dynamic. Dara is swiping weapons and destroying people in one breath, and following around Nahri like a love-lorn creature AND I AM HERE FOR IT. I have no idea where this lands me for book two. Stay tuned.

Ali. I don’t know where I stand on this guy. He’s conniving, yet caring. And for the life of me WHAT SIDE ARE YOU ON? I need to know. Prince Ali will ruin me, I can almost guarantee it. At least, if Dara doesn’t first. All of his sly moves are driving me batty and I love it. I love it.

Shout-out appreciation moment for some side characters. These were well built in their own right. Especially King Ghassan. I flippin’ thought he was fantastic. He has so many plans and I want to know them all. The King wasn’t one-sided and gave a lot more to the story as a whole. And really helped build the political back-drop for The City of Brass. Also, Jamshid. He needs a bigger spotlight, because I will do anything to make sure he’s happy. I want to tell you more, but because I’m a spoiler-free review type, I digress. But trust me, you’ll love him too.

The twists and turns and the intense history lesson I got from this book has me waiting at my door for The Kingdom of Copper to arrive. If you even *like* fantasy I would highly consider picking this up. It was amazing.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fantasy
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, magic, poison, animal mauling, very descriptive in the amount of blood/gore

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Book Review

Review: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn

 

Rating: 5/5
Audience: New adult, some language, a romance scene, kissing/make-outs, violence
Length: 664 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

CAN I HAVE A BOOK ALL ABOUT SARTAQ?

I decided he’s one of my top favorite side characters. I LOVE him and Nesryn. And now that he’s Heir it’ll give them an even bigger opportunity in the final battle! I need a ruk too. I’ll think of a name while I climb a mountain to find one.

I don’t love Chaol. Never really have. So I wasn’t originally excited to read this book. The first have is a bit slower because SJM word builds the Southern Continent. After that the action flows well and a lot, a lothappens.

Chaol does get his story though. That boy was HURTING. I thought it was a unique play on what was causing his disability. And you really felt the emotional turmoil he had to endure and come to terms with to be able to find happiness.

If you’re like me and weren’t too excited, I would still say YOU HAVE TO READ THIS STORY. The critical Maeve information in here will shake you. And send you down a horrid spiral trying to figure out what’s happening to our girl in the coffin with the news.

Yrene will also play a mega role in KoA if you ask me. I’m not quite sure where her healing power sits in the pawns of war, but if we spent an entire book on it then it means something, right?

This book became so large it isn’t considered a novella. It rivals with the later books in ToG.

I FEEL SO PUMPED FOR KOA NOW. READY FOR SJM TO SHATTER MY SOUL.

This installment still leans towards new adult. There is some language. A romance scene that is much less in your face as ACOMAF/EOS. Only lightly descriptive as are the other scenes that are glossed over. Minor violence.

 

Book Review

Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night

 

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Adult, a tiny bit of language, a handful of love scenes, lots of kisses & make-outs, some violence
Length: 584 pages
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Adult
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I HATE THAT I SOMEHOW ENJOY THIS.

Alright, well, I sped-read (I mean really, flew through unnecessary paragraphs at an alarming rate) and was still able to grasp the entire book. Goes to reiterate, this book is entirely too long and with too many side plots that sway from the trilogies original intentions.

Once again I struggled with the atmosphere of vampires. I think that kind of character is just too much for me. Though, Gallowglass is definitely my favorite side character from this spectacle. I love that he calls Diana, “Auntie” and watches our for her while adding in chuckling anecdotes.

This book was spent 95% in 1590 Elizabethan London. That’s too much time y’all. I was so ready for everyone to be back in the 21st Century and actually focus on the problem at hand, Ashmole 782. The entire series is predicated on this manuscript and it doesn’t seem to even be that big of a focus throughout. The book, truthfully, focuses more on the love story between Matthew and Diana. And while I don’t have a problem with that, that’s where the synopsis and the beginning plot lines should have sprung from. I think I thought too much into where the plot was really taking me. It’s almost more a romance novel than anything else.

I still did appreciate reading about the love story. It’s tender, and Diana has more a backbone in this book at least. The human intentions and emotions from meeting people from the past gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s enough for me to speed through this last book so I can at least know what the ending holds.

Very little language. A handful of love scenes that range from a soft gloss-over to detailed (though not as erotic as we all know some books go haha). Too many vampires to not have a decent dose of violence.

 

 

Book Review

Review: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

ADOW

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ [truthfully some unknown number between 3 & 4]
Audience: Adult, a tiny bit of language, a few love scenes, lots of kisses & make-outs, some violence
Length: 579 pages
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Release Date: February 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I AM SO AT ODDS WITH THIS BOOK.

Okay y’all. The reason my star rating is “somewhere between 3 & 4” is because goodness gracious, I can’t decide what I feel about this book! Stay with me here. My thoughts may get scattered.

I definitely give points to the concept. I think it’s cool! It’s a different spin on Vampires, Witches and Daemons. Also, it spans such big time periods! I actually like that Matthew is 1500+ years old because there is so much to his background.

My issue stems from the fact that, generally speaking, I hate vampire books. I read (and enjoyed) the Twilight series, but after that I felt done. Since then, if I realize a book is about vampires it usually ends up on my DNF shelf with no remorse.

Matthew being a vampire didn’t ruin this book for me, but his dynamic occasionally bugged me. He felt too possessive, demanding, stubborn, stealthy, etc. Which then made Diana appear way too meek, submissive, and just an overall sense of: STAND UP FOR YOURSELF WOMAN.

While I felt their love story had truly good moments, the action of the book never heightened enough. I kept asking myself, was that all? Maybe that’s why I’m at odds. I kept reading expecting more, but never got it, yet enjoyed it, but also skimmed it, and this run-on sentence could just keep going. It was too long of a book, with a lot of side stuff that got in the way, so I sped-read through those bits to get to the heart of the novel.

I will pick-up the second book and reconvene here for a determination as to whether the third book is worth my time.

Book leans more towards adult, very very little language. Some kiss/make-out scenes. A few love scenes that are semi-descriptive. A bit of violence.

Book Review

Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult, one curse word, no love scenes, or violence
Length: 282 pages
Author: Atul Gawande
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extends suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

MAKES YOU RECONSIDER.

While personally, death and all qualifying concepts still frighten me to some degree, I enjoyed the truths this book emanated.

Death is a hard conversation, and those right in the line of fire aren’t always getting the best that could be given them. NOT because of horrible doctors or anything to that affect [within regards to this book], just because, all of us are needing to learn how to ask the right questions. There’s so much more in those last few months of life that could be better handled if all of us approached it differently.

This book really opened my eyes to that line of thinking. What trade-offs are you willing to give for maybe a chance at having more time? We all will eventually have someone in our lives (or unfortunately, be this person) that wants to truly understand what’s happening. I feel marginally more prepared to handle these issues in the future. I appreciate Dr. Gawande’s take and how he addressed the topics and his own short-comings.

Hospice, assisted living, and other entities of this sort can be a lot more powerful when programs are appropriately provided and everyone understands the essence of care needed to help patients have the best day, they can at that moment.

A quick, thought-provoking read. One curse word was used. Appropriate for any audience comfortable with confronting the realities of mortality.

 

Book Review

Review: All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

All the Truth

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA/Adult, no language, discussion of tough topics (rape/whore/abuse), some kisses, no love scenes, some violence
Length: 274 pages
Author: Julie Berry
Publisher: Viking Books
Release Date: September 26th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.

Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A GOOD KINDA ODD.

This book was recommended to me and seemed interesting enough so here we are! Definitely an odd, keep you on your toes, not sure where this is going kinda book. I really enjoyed it! And may have finished it in essentially one sitting (baby to take care of and all ha!).

Set in what is perceived to be some type of Colonial period the story is broken up into choppy chapters and a unique POV. Judith speaks to a boy the entire time and she struggles to tell her story.

All I wanted to do was yell at Judith to SPEAK! So many odd things kept happening and the ending was starting to worry me. Berry weaves a creepy tale with characters you kinda hope burn.

While seriously, every single person will aggravate you at one point or another, this book is good! Matters resolved

I love finding interesting and different ways that authors choose to write! It’s a great experience for me because it mixes up the usual.

Some tough topics throughout, more mature audiences would be best suited. No language, some violence. A few kisses, but no love scenes.

Book Review

Review: Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist #2) by Renee Ahdieh

Smoke in the Sun

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, very little language, torture violence, some kiss scenes [one a touch love-ish]
Length: 408 pages
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For weeks, seventeen-year-old Mariko pretended to be a boy to infiltrate the notorious Black Clan and bring her would-be murderer to justice. She didn’t expect to find a place for herself among the group of fighters—a life of usefulness—and she certainly didn’t expect to fall in love. Now she heads to the imperial castle to resume a life she never wanted to save the boy she loves.

Ōkami has been captured, and his execution is a certainty. Mariko will do what she must to ensure his survival—even marry the sovereign’s brother, saying goodbye to a life with Ōkami forever.

As Mariko settles into her days at court—making both friends and enemies—and attempting Ōkami’s rescue at night, the secrets of the royal court begin to unravel as competing agendas collide. One arrow sets into motion a series of deadly events even the most powerful magic cannot contain. Mariko and Ōkami risk everything to right past wrongs and restore the honor of a kingdom thrown into chaos by a sudden war, hoping against hope that when the dust settles, they will find a way to be together.

Set against the backdrop of feudal Japan, Smoke in the Sun is the breathless, romantic, not-to-be-missed fiery conclusion to a spell-binding adventure.

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OKAMI IS MY CINNAMON ROLL.

I love him. That little cinnamon roll is my latest book boyfriend, because he just gives you all the heart eyes. His loyalty, sass, and honor round out a great character.

But on a real note, I LOVE BAD-A WOMEN. Mariko for the win. Ahdieh brought a dynamic, thoughtful and strong character in Mariko, and Yumi. Even Kanako, while evil-esque, still awesome. It’s so great when female characters really get the spotlight.

This book excels at multiple POV. Even when it changes mid-chapter, it’s easy to tell who’s speaking and what is happening. It was great getting everyone’s views because it rounded at the story from so many angles. I felt the anguish and triumphs of each character. Ahdieh is quickly becoming one of my top favorite authors. Her duologies make me happy and are the perfect length to convey a remarkable story.

Definitely a YA novel, maybe 2 curse words. Some kissing scenes with one being a touch love-ish. Multiple characters involved with torture violence.