Quick Review: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Mehr is the illegitimate daughter to the Governor. Her mother is part of the indigenous clan of her home but the Emperor has outlawed their spiirtual practices and this makes Mehr an outsider in her own home but she still practices her mother’s rituals. This of course gets her in trouble, when performs a ritual and garners the attention of the Maha, the power behind the Emperor and is tricked into marrying Amur. The Maha is a very powerful man, seen as a God among his followers and the Empire. His prayers makes the Empire strong and he does this thanks to Mehr and Amur’s people and their rituals. Mehr is a strong and brave woman. She knows this is a fucked up situation but she has limited choices. Choices is a big word in this novel. The ability of choice is sacred so the fact that Mehr’s choice was essentially taken from her is a big deal. Despite this she never stops making choices to figure out ways to save her and Amur from their servitude. She never resigns herself to her situation and gives in. She fights until the end and it’s powerful to see her fully embrace her powers. The other theme of this novel is colonialism. Mehr’s homeland was invaded by the Empire and the Emperor did all that he could to demonize her people’s culture despite the fact the success of the Empire is due to her people’s culture and rituals. It really makes you think how colonist for years have benefited from the resources of the places they colonized while erasing the cultures that they have benefited so much by. Mehr was able to take back the rituals and use them against the Maha and take back that power but so many other cultures are not that lucky.

Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Ana is a Fanatasist. One of seven perfect princess in The Kingdom theme park. She and her sisters are hybrids. Perfectly engineered to be what every guests wants them to be and everything that they could ever need is taken care of. Ana loves what she does but she begins to question the Kingdom’s mission when one of her sisters starts to act different and she meets a new worker named Owen. Soon her life gets turned upside down when Owen is missing and presumed dead and Ana is accused of his murder and put on trial. The book’s narrative goes back and fourth between Ana’s first person perspective of her life leading up to the event and transcripts of her trial. Between the two narratives the mystery of what happened to Ana and Owen starts to take place and well things are not what they seem. Ana being partly artificial she only knows at first what she is programmed to know but she is curious in the world and notices when anything is a bit off. It starts when a few of the hybrid animals start to behave aggressively and it leads to public incidents at the park. Then one of her sisters, Nia does something so shocking it really rocks Ana to the core. She finds solace in her new friendship with Owen, a maintenance worker at the park but he is not who she think he is too. As she tries to put together what is going on in the park while also dealing with her new feelings for Owen. It really brings into question what it is to be human. Is Ana a person even though she was created in a lab? Is she capable of love or is she just mimicking emotions she has observed. It is also pretty scary at some of the shit they park does to their Princesses, it’s no wonder they take the drastic measures they do to get out. It’s great story and it has a really satisfying ending. It’s definitely open-ended so if there were to be a sequel there could be.

Beth’s Favorite Books of 2019

It’s that time of the year.where we all take a moment and look back at all the books that we read this year and try to narrow it down to our favorites. I read 42 books this year which is actually less then normal but that’s okay. It’s quality over quantity right? How do you pick a favorite? Do you go by the book that you just coulnd’t put down? The one you wanted to reread as soon as you finished? The one that gave you the most feels good or bad? All of the above? It’s really hard to choose but I will do my best.

The list is in the order I read them this year as I’m chickening out in saying which one if my favorite favorite. It was too hard to choose.

  1. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas – This was honest and heart breaking as a young girl finds her voice through many challenges.
  2. Seafire by Natalie C. Parker – Girl Pirates. That’s it. I mean what else do you want in a book? Besides some great characters. Interesting world building and twist and turns around every corner. The sequel Steel Tide is just as good.
  3. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee – I really wished this wasn’t a standalone because they are so many adventures awaiting Min. Such a fun story and adventure.
  4. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – This book was a couple of years old but I never got around to reading. I’m glad that I finally did because I couldn’t put the trilogy down.
  5. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell – What do you get when a Witch, a vampire and a former wizard with wings and a tail take a road trip? The coolest car ride ever!
  6. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Traumatic and harrowing but a good mystery. I’m truly intrigued on where it goes from here.
  7. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater – Ronan Lynch is one of my favorite Maggie characters so I was pretty sure I was going to like this book but I surprised at how much I felt for Declan Lynch and new character Jordan.
  8. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black– No one does fairies like Holly Black and the finale to your the Folk of the Air trilogy proves why.

What were your favorite books of 2019? Comment down below and let us know what books we need to add to our stacks.

Quick Review: The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

This book was stressful from the beginning. I mean that in a good way. From the prologue to the epilogue it is none stop from beginning to end. The setting is a sort of old style wild west world. The girls of this world don’t have autonomy. It’s a rough world and for many families the best thing they can do for their daughters is sell them to the Welcome Houses where they will be feed and sheltered and that is why they are called Good Luck Girls because for many it seen as good luck to work in one of these houses and to be taken care of. In reality though they are being sold into sex slavery. It’s billed as a cross between West World and The Handmaid’s tale. I haven’t seen the former but I know the latter and yeah I can see some similarities. Clementine’s first night as a Sundown girl doesn’t go as planned when she kills her first brag. Her sister Aster leads her and her friends Tansy, Mallow and Violet on an escape but that is just as dangerous as the life they left. With the help from rangeman, Zee they fight their way through the wild terrain. They take some of the power back by robbing the kind of men that used to visit the Welcome Houses to get enough money to remove the favors from their bodies. It’s a powerful statement on how they work together. I thought this was a standalone book but it’s at least a duology as there is a planned sequel. To say I enjoyed it is probably the wrong thing to say because it’s not a pleasant read. What these women go through and have been through is horrifying but also gratifying to see them fight back. I look forward to see what happens next to these ladies as they continue to fight for their freedom and the freedom of others like them.

Series We Said Goodbye to in 2019

After years of following your favorite characters. You’ve laughed. You’ve cried. You’ve screamed at them for every stupid decision they make. And then you come to the end. As everything must end at some point. Here are the series that I finished this year and I will miss.

  1. The Dark Artifices Series by Cassandra Clare – Another Shadowhunter trilogy in the books. It was good and I love that Cassandra continues to push boundaries and populates her worlds with diverse set of characters. I was kinda surprised on how it ended but as always with her books, one series bleeds into another.
  2. Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber – It’s rare that I actually find a series as it’s ending but this one I hit at the right time and read all three back to back and I’m glad I did because I don’t think I would have liked to have wait to see how the Caraval ended. Even if only liked one of the sisters.
  3. Three Dark Crowns Series by Kendare Blake – This is like the Game of Thrones but mostly only the women in the kingdom. It had everything from palace intrigued to rebellions and betrayals and magic. It really kept me guessing to the end and really cemented Kendare Blake as one of those authors I just have to read.
  4. Legend Series by Marie Lu – Technically I’ve already said good bye to this series once already a couple of years ago but that was before Marie Lu decided she needed to close a few plots she left open and give us readers the closure we all needed.
  5. Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer – Superheros with superpowers fighting each other is pretty awesome stuff. It was a quite ride as we follow our heroes and watch them debate who has what best for the city in mind. In the end, it was villains and heroes coming together to save the day.
  6. The Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black – I’ve probably said this numerous times but Holly Black really knows how to write fairies. She just understands how they think or how they would think. This was a perfect ending to a really great series and she even seamlessly wove in her other characters from past books into the narrative without it being obvious or distracting. That’s a true feat.
  7. The Magisterium Series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. – Call and friends when through a lot in the year 5 years at the Magisterium. I kinda miss Call’s sassiness.
  8. The Charlotte Holmes Series by Brittany Cavallaro – Charlotte Holmes would have made her famous ancestor proud in how she solved her mysteries. She was truly a class above all else.

What Series did you finish this year? Comment below and let us know what series we need check out next.

I read 15,686 pages in 2019, so far.

I enjoy the website Goodreads. It makes it easy for me to keep track of the all the books I have read, want to read and discover new books. It also where I can set goals of how many I want to read. Since I joined the site in 2011, I have read 603 books. (I actually read more than that but for several years, Goodreads didn’t include books you have reread in your challenge counts) This year I read 42 books (most likey 43 before 12/31). It’s the least amount I’ve read since 2011. There were years that I read over 80 books a year but I felt like when I read that many that I really didn’t get to enjoy the books as much. I just sped through the books to finish them and really didn’t get much time to think about that. This year I made a conscience decision to make a smaller goal because I knew I was going to be busier. I had more trips planned throughout the year but also I never wanted to feel like I had to rush through a book to make some self-imposed goals. So I’m glad that I made it past my goal of 40 books is what I’m saying. Anyway, according to Goodreads, I read 15,686 pages. The shortest being the novella Shadow Me and the longest The Queen of of Air and Darkness. The average length of the books I read were 344 pages. I love these kind of facts. So here are my stats for 2019 How did you all do with your Goodreads challenge?