Series: The Daevabad Trilogy

Author: S.A. Chakraborty

Word Count(2 & 3): 423,130

Overall Thoughts: Recently I have read “The Kingdom of Copper” and “The Empire of Gold”. These two are the sequels to “City of Brass” and what a trilogy they make! We follow Nahri, a woman from Cairo who finds herself traveling with a djinn of a mysterious background. The three books circulate around her story and a couple other characters. We are set in a magical city called Daevabad for most of the story through this series. Teeming with deavas (djinn) and other magical beings this story weaves Egyptian and Muslim gods and mythology together. I had to often stop when a new creature was introduced and research it just so I could grasp the story better (which I love!).

No spoilers here, the storyline deals heavily with tribal loyalty over humanity, family ties and how strong they can actually hold, and what power can do to anyone. Definitely a series I am keeping in my personal library! You will see these books on our “2022 Book Reviews!” if you check out our Bookshop site!

Title: “The Book Collectors”

Author: Delphine Minoui

Overall Thoughts: A true telling of the city of Daraya in Syria and the people that saved literature. Delphine Minoui corresponded with a collective that began saving the books in their rumble filled home. This short narrative bounces between the brutality of living in a town under siege and the freedom reading offers.

As stated in the book, many of the Daraya Library collectors did not read before creating their library. If nothing else, this book shows us the power books have. The transformative nature of them to give us the strength to stand in the face of evil and insurmountable hate. For a moment you can escape to remember a better time. Minoui shares these stories and so much more with her interviews that span years of strive for the Syrians.

Definitely a recommend, a hard read simply because of the nature of this story. What a reminder to do good where we are now, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Title: “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”

Author: Kim Michelle Richardson

Word Count: 92,391

Overall Thoughts: As many of you know, I do not often read bestsellers. Let me tell you though, I am SO glad that I picked up this one! This historical novel is set during The Great Depression in rural Kentucky. Cussy Mary works for the Pack Horse Library project delivering books to outlying families. Her and her widowed father make it by with her work and him being a miner. Cussy is the last of the blue people of Kentucky, which sets her apart as a colored person. The book woman navigates a time of bigotry, hunger and strive with grace.

This book touched me as a bookseller as I watched Cussy return to the office and find books for her patrons with much care. Delivering and helping when she could, this fictional woman makes me want to be more than just a book retailer. What an important book about how our station in life does not define our character and that a little kindness goes a long way.

Title: “Daughter of the Moon Goddess”

Author: Sue Lynn Tan

Word Count: 39,719

Overall Thoughts: Do you love fantasy? Do you love folklore? Does romance in any fashion interest you? If not, you still will want to read this book! A masterfully told tale, the words flow as a calligraphy pen writes. Tan has woven Chinese mythology into a tale for our millennium. Being a fantasy and a romance can be a challenge but the folklore aspect made this tale all the more rich.

We follow Xingyin who is on a quest to free her mother who is imprisoned on the moon. Her journey takes her all over the Celestial Realm, she lives hidden among their Celestial Majesties hoping to find a perfect moment to ask for clemency on behalf of her mother.

Xingyin’s story spans years with magic, love, archery and mythical creatures all permeating every page. This book makes me believe I too could jump on a cloud to visit the moon. Definite recommend!

Title: “Caraval”

Author: Stephanie Garber

Word Count: 88,345

Overall Thoughts: Firstly, thank you novelbound for recommending this read! I listened to their podcast and loved hearing about this fantastic world! Caraval centers around two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella. They have been raised by their abusive father after their mother disappeared. Scarlett has dreamed of attending the magical experience known as “Caraval” held by the mysterious magician who calls himself Legend. After writing for years to the mysterious mischief maker the girls are invited to the island that this event is held at. The only problem is that Scarlett is betrothed to a man she has never met and has no way of leaving her father’s home. Oh, and her wedding is barely a week away when the invitations arrive. Trickery ensues, Donatella goes missing, the game played at Caraval is more real than Scarlett could have imagined. Secrets traded for magnificent gowns, reality and lies blend too perfectly in this tale of sisters and first love. This book was an easy read for me and I finished it in less than six hours of reading. This is categorized as a Teen/YA book, the only content that needs to be noted is some innuendo and a couple good kiss scenes, but overall is a great read! I won’t give more of the plot away so you can figure out the mystery yourself!

Title: “The Shadow Rising”

Author: Robert Jordan

Word Count: 393,823

Overall Thoughts: The plot thickens in the fourth installment of the Wheel of Time series. You follow all of the main characters in their now separate quests to save the world. Perrin’s story gets more interesting and his ARC definitely progresses! The Aiel play a huge part in the plot and they were probably where I had to slow down my reading the most so I didn’t miss details about the culture. This book ends with lots of action and “what the heck” moments. Can’t wait to read book five!

Title: “The Dragon Reborn”

Author: Robert Jordan

Word Count: 243,569

Overall thoughts: What a wild ride! Book three of the Wheel of Time series has much more action than the previous and lots of dialogue to carry you through!
Nynaeve and Egwene have a ton of adventures and their story is explored more. If you hate Mat, this book is very redeeming for his storyline! Perrin is my favorite character so far, and you spend some good time with him as well!
Rand is the only character that is almost completely absent from this book. Which is a nice change from the first two books! Dream sequences are huge and affect the plot greatly. This is a cool plot piece and can also be confusing. Is what is happening real? No? Yes? I really enjoyed “The Dragon Reborn” and am already into book four!

Title: “Fangirl”

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Word Count: 107,994 

Overall Thoughts: This Teen read about Cath and her twin sister Wren is a delightful tale of finding yourself. Cath finds her own voice and strength without changing her whole personality for one person, which I LOVE. The story center around the sisters’ first year at college and the diverging paths they choose. Balancing school, new social norms and Cath’s love for writing fanfic, things are bound to get messy.

This book is a romance, a look back at childhood and choosing to move forward all in one great read. A great easier read between the WOT books! There are themes of mental health issues and family trauma, if you want clarification please reach out!

Title: “The Great Hunt”

Author: Robert Jordan

Word Count: 260,354

Overall Thoughts: The second installment of the Wheel of Time series did not disappoint! The pacing definitely picked up and we dive into more character stories. Having the story follow Darkfriends alongside the main protaganists gave the story depth and a tension that moved the plot nicely.

Who are my favorite characters so far? I’ll tell you. LAN. Although you don’t see much of him in this book(like literally not at all basically),. But his backstory GETS ME. Perrin, no spoilers but if you know YOU KNOW. I want to see where Mat’s story takes him as well. You cannot have one character storyline that does not affect others but these are the ones that get me PUMPED.

Jordan definitely loves detail, to accomplish my goal of reading all 14 in a timely manner I am learning to speed up my reading in non-dialogue sections. That really is the only downside is that I cannot breeze through these books quicker. In reality, it’s a great world and it takes time to be built. Another great recommend.

Title: “The Eye of the World”

Author: Robert Jordan

Word Count: 300,147

Overall Thoughts: The first book of the Wheel of Time series did not disappoint. A sweeping fantasy world full of magic, near death experiences and the ending of an age fill Jordan’s book. Although this read took me a little longer than planned the text skips along at a good rate once you are accustomed to Jordan’s descriptions. The story is based around four young friends from an outskirt village. Through a wild chain of events they realize that all of their fates are linked to the fate of the world. A magic wielding woman named Moiraine and her skilled fighter Lan take the young people on a quest to safety for themselves and the world. Descriptions of landscapes and wardrobe feel very Tolkien-esque. Although, instead of trudging through underbrush for eight hundred pages without seeing a soul, the characters do meet other beings that affect their quest greatly. What a welcome surprise to find in such a massive book. This book is the first of fourteen in the series that I will hopefully read in 2022. I will be holding on to all of them as I read this epically large fantasy series.

Title: “Present Over Perfect”

Author: Shauna Niequist

Word Count: approximately 50,000

Overall Thoughts: I have been slowly meandering my way through this one. And FINALLY decided it was time to finish it. Niequist processes her time as an over-achieving perfectionist who was all about the “hustle”. Until it became painfully apparent she needed to slow down. This book paints a picture of a soul being filled once again. This faith-based journey reads like a memoir that truly does inspire one to stop and ask, “Is what I chase worth my soul? Worth my family?”

At this time in my life I am making room for peace and rest. Giving myself permission to be that spontaneous girl who loved to spin in the living room and sing at the top of her lungs. I don’t need to fill every week with meetings and big social events. Simply living in God’s grace is enough. This book is a love letter to perfectionists, and it gives permission for mistakes. You don’t have to carry the world on your back and make a homemade meal every night. “It’s about rejecting the myth that every day is a new opportunity prove our worth, and about the truth that our worth is inherent, given by God, not earned by our hustling.” - Shauna Niequist Definitely a recommend.