The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

GoodReads 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…
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)Review:
As I’ve mentioned (mostly on Twitter) I’ve been having some trouble with the fantasy genre lately. I haven’t been able to get into any of the ones I’ve tried to pick up. But for Tome Topple I went in trying to force myself to read some of my backlist books and love them. I’m happy to say that it worked.
The City of Brass was amazing. I immediately was interested in the world. I liked Nahri as soon as I started. She was funny and clever and in over her head. I loved that she was strong and stubborn even if she was taking a stand against something she knew was good for her. I loved it. It was a great step up for hilarity. Little did she know what she was in for. I liked seeing her learn about who she really was. I am dying to know how things will play out in the next book.
Dara was my favorite. I just wanted him to spill all his secrets. I loved his relationship with Nahri and how protective he was. He did what was best for her even if it wasn’t the best thing for him. He was always scheming and I just wanted a better ending for him. I hope we learn more about him in the next book.
Ali, I could never tell with him whether we were supposed to like him or not? I liked that he tried to fight for his beliefs. His storyline was the most compelling in the sense of his inner conflict between fighting for what he believed in and supporting his family loyalties. I loved his relationships with his siblings. They didn’t always (or ever) get along but their love for one another still shown through.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the world, the magic, the setting. I adored the characters and conflicts. I enjoyed the relationships and the drama between them. I cannot wait to get into the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2)Review:
Part of me is honestly glad that I waited to read this so close to when the third book is being released. I only have to wait a few weeks for the series to conclude rather than a whole year. I found myself liking this book better than the first. While I always enjoy seeing the world end, I much preferred seeing the aftermath and years after the end of the world as we knew it.
Of Blood and Bone follows Fallon mostly, who is foretold to be The One. The descendant of someone important that I really feel like I should know where I’ve heard it before and I think it might even be from another of Nora’s series. I really liked Fallon. She starts off as a young girl and we get to see her grow and train and come to accept the responsibility that fate has bestowed upon her. She grew into this responsibility gracefully. Obviously, this wasn’t without its teenage moments and I thought that just made it all the better. Fallon was smart and determined, caring and honorable, fierce and strong. I really love her. And even more, I love the love interest that is alluded to.
We get to see the many characters we got to know in the first book and I was glad about that. I think this book gave us a bit more of the character development that was missing from Year One, but also the whole book is pretty fast-paced. It follows a time period of several years, slowing here and there. So, it felt like we didn’t get to know everyone as well as we could have. But I think this book filled in a bit that I thought was missing from the first. We also added a handful of characters, which didn’t really help this. Despite that, I still really liked getting to see the friends and found family that Lana had left behind.
I love the magic. Magical dystopias are not something I’ve read too many of. So, this one was a fun twist on the end of the world. Most I’ve read use magic to prevent the end of the world, and in this one magic came from the end of the world.
Nora leaves us in suspense, giving us only crumbs to try to piece together. I’m dying to know how this story will end. I will be waiting as patiently as I am able to for the final installment of this trilogy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

GoodReads Summary:
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.
As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.
Girls with Sharp Sticks (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #1)Review:
Girls with Sharp Sticks straight up pissed me off. It was to the point where I almost DNF’d it, but after talking to a friend, she told me the things that I hated got better. So, I continued on. I’m glad I did because this book was a wild ride.
The thing I hated about this book was the views that the girls are trained to believe. Girls are meant to be obedient and serve men is what it essentially boils down to and boy did that make me mad. But things get so good when Mena starts to realize that something isn’t right at the academy. She starts to realize that something more was going on than the girls knew. This was when things got really interesting.
I wanted to know more about the rest of the world. It seemed like this story is supposed to take place in a near-future where the rest of the world is going on how it is now, but some are taking things to extremes with these girls.
Overall, I don’t want to say too much because most of the things I liked are spoilers. So, I’m going to keep this review on the shorter side. This book made me really mad, but by the end of the story, all of the things that angered me were challenged. There were twists and turns, and mysteries that I never could have expected. I have an ARC of the second book and I’m dying to get into it right away.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

GoodReads Summary:
When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.
For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.
As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.
The Final Six (The Final Six, #1)Review:
I picked this book up because Alexandra Monir is one of the author’s that I’d not heard of until the lineup of authors was released for the NoVaTeen Book Festival. I was really intrigued by the synopsis for this one, but part of me didn’t expect to love this as much as I did. I listened to the audiobook. And the one thing I will say about the audio is that it threw me that Leo was Italian, like born in Italy and lived there his entire life, but the narrator for him didn’t have an accent? It’s a small thing, and I quickly got over it. I liked both narrators, but also, they didn’t talk at the same speed, so listening on 1.5x speed Leo’s narration was perfect but Naomi was a little fast. Again, a small thing and I quickly got over it.
I really enjoyed this story. I liked that it was science-y, but not so much that there were constant explanations about the scientific things that were going on. It was explained well and not overly so. Too many science fiction novels are too filled with over explanations and big science words when it’s not needed. I loved this story’s version of ‘the end of the world’ via extreme natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. I love dystopian and science fiction books that are mildly terrifying because of their potential to become our future. This was a great one. Twenty-four teens are selected from around the world to train and learn to maybe become a part of the final six that will be sent on a mission to terraform one of Jupiter’s moons that is habitable for humans.
Seeing the characters learn and train for this mission was interesting, but even more so was the contrast between Leo and Naomi. They’re two people that have connected when they otherwise wouldn’t have, all thanks to this program. Leo fiercely dedicated to doing his best and being a part of the final six, whereas Naomi is adamantly against the mission because she feels that those in charge of the space program are keeping secrets they shouldn’t be. I thought the fact that their relationship developed despite their very different views on the mission was really compelling, one always trying to sway the other.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Final Six and I am very excited to read the second book. The ending was killer in the sense of leaving the reader hanging. Many things were wrapped up but also left in a way so that the reader is excited about what is going to come next. I cannot wait for book two, and you lovely, have just enough time to read this book before its sequel comes out.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Love Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Love Freebie. I’ll be listing my favorite bookish couples.

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Gauri & Vickram from A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Elizabeth & Nathaniel from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Fallon & Duncan from Chronicles of the One by Nora Roberts

Red & Blue from This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

Charlotte & Jamie from A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Rob & Maegen from Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Vi & Taavin from Vortex Chronicles by Elise Kova

Lennon & Kyler from All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

Esta & Harte from The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Henry & Alex from Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What are your favorite bookish couples? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s 2019 Fantasy Favorites

I have one last favorites post for you all, lovelies. Let’s talk about fantasy favorites. I had a very up and down relationship with the fantasy genre this year. I really couldn’t get into any fantasy that I picked up until about halfway through the year. So, these are the books that actually caught my attention and managed to make my favorites.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Deathcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Vortex Visions by Elise Kova

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Roar by Cora Carmack

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

What fantasy books did you read in 2019 that I need to add to my TBR? Leave a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Jackpot by Nic Stone

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?
Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.
JackpotReview:
I loved Stone’s other novel, Dear Martin, so I was excited to read Jackpot when I picked it up at Target. Sadly, I didn’t love it. I liked it well enough, but there were some things that I didn’t enjoy.
Overall, I just really didn’t like Rico. I understand what it’s like to be poor, but she just complained about it and made Zan out to be a bad guy because his parents have money. Sure he doesn’t really get what she’s going through, but there are lots of poor people that don’t automatically dislike people with money just because they have money. She was really judgmental and I just didn’t like her very much.
I did, however, totally adored her little brother. He was so happy all the time despite the fact that his family was poor. He always had a smile on, even when he was sick.
Zan was definitely a little savior-ish, but he had good intentions and that was clear. I liked him right up until the big reveal about the missing lottery ticket. That really made me mad.
I enjoyed reading this book while I was reading it, but there were some things I didn’t like. I did like the diversity in this book. I liked the overarching theme, but Rico annoyed me and so did the ending.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.