Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Bought Because I Loved the ARC

This week's topic is: Books I Bought Because I Loved the ARC

I am someone that really values having a physical library of the books I've loved and even just books I've read in general. I don't necessarily have room for all of them, but uh, that's an issue for another day. Since books are not free (nor should they be!) and because I don't have unlimited money, I can't afford to purchase the finished copy of every ARC that I read and like. I wish I could support authors and publishers and purchase finished copies of every ARC I read, but to make up for that I always do my best to purchase copies when I can if it's a book that I really enjoyed. So this week I'm going to list ten (of many!) books that I've purchased after being fortunate enough to receive an ARC of! This is sort of just going to turn into a list of some of my favorite books/books I really love, but really, that's not a bad thing, is it?

The Empire's Ghost
The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger
I read a copy of this via NetGalley and absolutely loved it! I'm not sure why this fantasy didn't end up catching on, but I highly recommend it. And in the best news ever--the sequel is coming out this fall! I'm actually in the midst of re-reading this first book right now so that I can start an ARC of the sequel. This synopsis doesn't mention it, but this book has a fantastic cast of characters that are a ton of fun!

"The empire of Elesthene once spanned a continent, but its rise heralded the death of magic. It tore itself apart from within, leaving behind a patchwork of kingdoms struggling to rebuild. 

But when a new dictator, the ambitious and enigmatic Imperator Elgar, seizes power in the old capital and seeks to recreate the lost empire anew, the other kingdoms have little hope of stopping him. Prince Kelken of Reglay finds himself at odds with his father at his country’s darkest hour; the marquise of Esthrades is unmatched in politics and strategy, but she sits at a staggering military disadvantage. And Issamira, the most powerful of the free countries, has shut itself off from the conflict, thrown into confusion by the disappearance of its crown prince and the ensuing struggle for succession. 

Everything seems aligned in Elgar’s favor, but when he presses a band of insignificant but skilled alley-dwellers into his service for a mission of greatest secrecy, they find an unexpected opportunity to alter the balance of power in the war. Through their actions and those of the remaining royals, they may uncover not just a way to defeat Elgar, but also a deeper truth about their world’s lost history." Goodreads

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
I had no idea when I an ARC of this that it would end up being such a big and important part of my life, but here we are! I fell in love with Nevernight immediately and precede to place an order for the Goldsboro edition once I realized it existed.

"Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death. 

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything. 

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult. 

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. 

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear." Goodreads 

We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)
We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
This book has now been acquired by Orbit! I read a copy via a request from Devin Madson and it's been one of my favorite self-published fantasy review requests ever (and it's one of my favorite fantasy books, too). I recently reviewed an ARC of the equally beautiful Orbit edition and I'm planning to get into a re-read/new edition read!

"War built the Kisian Empire and war will tear it down. And as an empire falls, three warriors rise. 

Caught in a foreign war, Captain Rah e’Torin and his exiled warriors will have to fight or die. Their honour code is all they have left until orders from within stress them to breaking point, and the very bonds that hold them together will be ripped apart. 

Cassandra wants the voice in her head to go away. Willing to do anything for peace, the ageing whore takes an assassination contract that promises answers, only the true price may be everyone and everything she knows. 

A prisoner in her own castle, Princess Miko doesn’t dream of freedom but of the power to fight for her empire. As the daughter of a traitor the path to redemption could as easily tear it, and her family, asunder. As an empire dies they will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.." Goodreads

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)
Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell
This was another self-published fantasy review request and wow was this incredible. I still haven't read the sequel for some reason (!?), but I think I will need to re-read this one first before diving in.

"A deformed genius plots vengeance while struggling to survive. A wastrel prince comes of age, finding a power he never imagined. Two worlds are destined to collide. 

Only one can be king.

Ruka, called a demon at birth, is a genius. Born malformed and ugly into the snow-covered wasteland of the Ascom, he was spared from death by his mother's love. Now he is an outcast, consumed with hate for those who've wronged him. But to take his vengeance, he must first survive. 

Across a vast sea in the white-sand island paradise of Sri Kon, Kale is fourth and youngest son of the Sorcerer King. And at sixteen, Kale is a disappointment. As the first prince ever forced to serve with low-born marines, Kale must prove himself and become a man, or else lose all chance of a worthy future, and any hope to win the love of his life. 

Though they do not know it, both boys are on the cusp of discovery. Their worlds and lives are destined for greatness, or ruin." Goodreads

Gods of Jade and Shadow
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This was a beautiful sort of classic folktale frame of a story that introduced me to Silvia Moreno-Garcia's work!

"The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. 

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true. 

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld." Goodreads

The Wolf in the Whale
The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky
This is one of my absolute favorite books and I immediately ordered a finished copy after I finished my ARC.

""There is a very old story, rarely told, of a wolf that runs into the ocean and becomes a whale." 

Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people. 

But the gods have stopped listening and Omat's family is starving. Alone at the edge of the world, hope is all they have left. 

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world...or save it." Goodreads

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

"Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined." Goodreads

The Girl in Red
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
I love Christina Henry so I was sort of already planning to purchase this at some point, but it's still one I ordered after finishing my copy from NetGalley!

"It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago. 

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods...." Goodreads

Vita Nostra
Vita Nostra by Marina & Srgey Dyachenko
I don't even know what to say about this book, but it's one I think about a lot and I really hope the sequels are translated into English one day.. or else it's time to start learning Russian!

"Our life is brief . . . 

Sasha Samokhina has been accepted to the Institute of Special Technologies. 

Or, more precisely, she’s been chosen. 

Situated in a tiny village, she finds the students are bizarre, and the curriculum even more so. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, it is their families that pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want." Goodreads

NottinghamNottingham by Nathan Makaryk
This is easily my favorite Robin Hood retelling and I can't wait for the sequel!

"No king. No rules. 

England, 1191. King Richard is half a world away, fighting for God and his own ambition. Back home, his country languishes, bankrupt and on the verge of anarchy. People with power are running unchecked. People without are growing angry. And in Nottingham, one of the largest shires in England, the sheriff seems intent on doing nothing about it. 

As the leaves turn gold in the Sherwood Forest, the lives of six people--Arable, a servant girl with a secret, Robin and William, soldiers running from their pasts, Marion, a noblewoman working for change, Guy of Gisbourne, Nottingham's beleaguered guard captain, and Elena Gamwell, a brash, ambitious thief--become intertwined. 

And a strange story begins to spread . . .Goodreads

Bonus Pre-Orders!

The House in the Cerulean Sea
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Technically this is already out, but I have pre-ordered a signed edition from Mysterious Galaxy Books and well, those events were cancelled (with good reason!) so I am patiently awaiting whenever the finished copy of this beauty shows up. :) This book is perfect and I love it.
"A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. 

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. 

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days. 

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn." Goodreads

The Only Good IndiansThe Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
This was such a dark and compelling story, I loved it--and I am enamored with that cover.
Review to come!
Out 5/19
"Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? If you read ARCs, what are some that you chose to eventually purchase!?


  1. I've read Spin The Dawn and I enjoyed it but didn't love it. I actually got Nevernight as an ARC as well but just couldn't get into it. I very rarely buy physical copies of the ARCs I read, just because I don't have the space or the money. I did buy Caraval after reading the e-ARC, because the cover was so pretty and I also bought Traitor To The Throne because I loved the author and wanted to have the full set of the trilogy.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/top-ten-tuesday-258/

    1. Nevernight definitely seems to be a hit or miss sort of situation for a lot! Space and money are huge issues, I try to save up whenever I get gift cards to places and then use those, haha. Caraval's cover really is beautiful!

  2. Since I have limited space, I really only try to buy books I've read before and loved - that's where the library comes in handy!

  3. What a cool list, and what a nice way to support the authors.

    My TTT .

  4. Great list! Nottingham, The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Girl in Red and Nevernight are all on my TBR, and I've heard really good things about The Wolf in the Whale, too. I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow!

  5. My habit has been to buy special editions of some of the books I review, and it's a pricier way to go, but I can't think of a better way to spend my money, lol. I'm waiting on pre orders of The City We Became and Aurora Burning at the moment (although those I don't have ARCs for) So excited to read The Only Good Indians😁

  6. Wow, this list is awesome! I’ve not got into requesting ARC copies yet but it’s nice to know you’ve enjoyed some so much you purchase the book after. A nice way to support authors too, especially as many of these are smaller publishers. I’ll have to check out these recs!

  7. I'm the same way- if I really enjoy a book or it just has that extra something, I always want a physical copy. Even though space is a separate issue entirely haha! Nottingham sounds amazing to me, and I really liked The Girl in Red.

    I've seen some good reviews for the House in the Cerulean Sea so far so that one is definitely on my list. The Brodsky one has me super interested also.

  8. This is a fun reason to buy books! I did this with Elle Kennedy's Off Campus series.

  9. I need to snag The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune ASAP! Awesome list!

  10. I really need to read Nevernight asap! The series is very hyped though, so I'm a bit intimidated. But I really hope to read it soon :)

    My TTT