TOP TEN TUESDAY – FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY FRIENDS! It’s Tuesday, and I’m back at work, so that means it’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is incredibly easy because I’ve already posted this list about eight million times. It’s FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022. You’re probably tired of seeing these books, in all honesty! But, I’ll switch it up a bit and only do books released last year.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

You can find my reviews for these books if you click the names: In a Jam, A Strange and Stubborn Endurance, Book Lovers, A Dowry of Blood, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, Empire of Exiles, Nona the Ninth, The Drowned Woods, The Hunger of the Gods, and A Taste of Gold and Iron.

Have you read any of these?

BY THE WAY — If you’re looking for a year-long reading challenge to join, check out my YEAR-LONG SCAVENGER HUNT. There’s a button on the sidebar of my blog that you are welcome to steal if you’re interested in participating!

BOOK REVIEW: A STRANGE AND STUBBORN ENDURANCE BY FOZ MEADOWS

the book cover for A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows
  • STAR RATING:  5 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 544 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: July 26th 2022
  • PUBLISHER:  Tor Books
    CONTENT WARNINGS: Rape, suicide attempt, animal death

  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

SYNOPSIS

“Stolen me? As soon to say a caged bird can be stolen by the sky.”

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead.

Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock.

With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

Byzantine politics, lush sexual energy, and a queer love story that is by turns sweet and sultry. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is an exploration of gender, identity, and self-worth. It is a book that will live in your heart long after you turn the last page.

Before I get into my review any further, I do want to make note of the content warnings for this book. There is a rape scene on page. It is fairly detailed. It happens within the first five or six chapters. It is quick, but very easy to see coming. It should be fairly easy to skip over if this would trigger you. I’d give you exact page counts, but I apologize, I don’t have a physical copy.

With that out of the way, A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is an absolutely gorgeously written story. It took me a few pages to get used to Foz Meadow’s writing — it’s a bit flowery compared to what I’m used to — but once I sunk in, it’s like being surrounded by the most beautiful garden imaginable. The world is fantastic — built out just enough to make it feel large and different to our own. The cultures included are so very different, but felt well-rounded and real. But out of everything, I fell in love with the characters, most of all.

Velasin is our main character — most of the story is told through his eyes, in first person POV. He is dealing with some severe PTSD after his sexual assault at the very beginning of the novel. He’s unsure what his place is in the world, and he’s been thrust into an arranged marriage he wasn’t really interested in. He’s got a lot going on, and Meadows does a fantastic job of making the reader feel with him.

Caethari is the other main character — Velasin’s new husband. Despite never meeting Velasin before, he is immediately protective and worried over him. Caethari is a sweetheart — but he’s also quite a badass, too. He never underestimates his new husband, and does everything he can to reassure Velasin that the world they now inhabit is so much different to the one that Velasin grew up in. Caethari was my favorite.

The general gist of the novel is political intrigue. Someone is trying to hurt Velasin, and break the marriage between him and Caethari. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is a highly political novel, with a romance on the side. (Compared to A Taste of Gold and Iron, another book I absolutely adored, which is a romance novel with some political intrigue on the side.) The romance takes its time forming in the book, which I was thoroughly a fan of. You really get the feel that Caethari and Velasin grow into their love instead of it happening right away. Yes, the story takes place over like…two weeks. Doesn’t matter. It feels plenty long in the book, I promise.

The reveal of who is behind all the stunts and murders is fantastic. I didn’t think the book would actually go there, but it DID, and it was the perfect choice. The ending and solving of everything happens flashbang quick, but is very satisfying. Five stars.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

WWW WEDNESDAY — SEPTEMBER 28

Hi friends! I hope you’re having a great day so far. It’s chilly, windy, and rainy here so it’s really feeling autumnal today. Hopefully you’re quite comfortable where you are!

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. It’s super simple — all you do is answer the following questions.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m about 50% of the way through Empire of Exiles and so far it is vastly different from what I was expecting. In a good way, though. It’s got some very interesting characters, and the murder mystery is definitely keeping me on my toes. I finished up A Strange and Stubborn Endurance a few days ago, and I really, really loved it. My review will be up tomorrow! Next, I think I’ll get into A Restless Truth, which I am so so looking forward to. This is a sequel to A Marvellous Light which I absolutely adored, so here’s hoping it lives up to its predecessor.

What are you currently reading?

TOP TEN TUESDAY – TYPOGRAPHIC BOOK COVERS

Goooood morning, my darlings! I hope you’re dong well so far today — I’m feeling a lot better than I was, so we’ve got some improvement! I also had a convenient already-planned doctor appt yesterday, and they checked me out and proclaimed to be doing just fine. Doc seems to think I’m flaring up from the weather shift. It was 80 degrees last week, and not even 60 this week. That’ll do it for me, unfortunately.

ANYWAY — Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic this week is a TYPOGRAPHIC BOOK COVERS. I’m not sure how I’ll do this week. Let’s see!

Alright, alright! I think I ended up doing pretty good, all things considered! I aimed for book covers that were MOSTLY just text, or included text in a really interesting way. Did any of these make your list this week?

WWW WEDNESDAY — SEPTEMBER 22

Good morning, darlings! It’s Wednesday. Somehow. Time is flying by, isn’t it? Unfortunately, my husband woke up feeling yucky, but everyone else is doing great in our household. Hopefully, it stays that way! I hope you’re all doing great!

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. It’s super simple — all you do is answer the following questions.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m about 40% of the way through A Strange and Stubborn Endurance, and I’m really liking it despite not being able to keep track of who’s who in some scenes. It reminds me a lot of A Taste of Gold and Iron, in the m/m way, and the political mess way. I finished up Sabriel this weekend, despite being the one hosting the Sabriel Read-a-Long. Whoops. My review posted two days ago, if you’re at all interested in hearing me sing the praises of that book some more. Next, I think I’ll pick up Empire of Exiles, as it’s an ARC and I should really start reading some ARCs as they’ve started to pile up.

What are you currently reading?

TOP TEN TUESDAY – BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic this week is a BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR. This is, thankfully, a rather easy one for me. Most of these are ARCs that I absolutely need to get cracking on!

In fact, all but two of these are ARCs I have! Have you read any of these / are you looking forward to any of these? Of them, I’m most looking forward to reading A Restless Truth, and The Bone Houses.

MONDAY MORNING – AUGUST 29

Gooood morning, my darlings. It’s Monday. Brand new start to the week! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend — we went to a wedding of one of my husband’s friends this weekend and we’re still recovering. It’s been a while since we drank that much and stayed up that late. Thankfully, my MIL watched Will so we could stay at a hotel! The wedding was just far enough away that we didn’t want to drive home afterwards. It was a lot of fun, though! Now we all just need to catch up on some sleep.

This book came out fairly recently, so many of you will have seen it around! I currently have it on hold at the library — here’s hoping my turn will come up on it soon!

A STRANGE AND STUBBORN ENDURANCE BY FOZ MEADOWS

“Stolen me? As soon to say a caged bird can be stolen by the sky.”

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead.

Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock.

With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

Byzantine politics, lush sexual energy, and a queer love story that is by turns sweet and sultry. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is an exploration of gender, identity, and self-worth. It is a book that will live in your heart long after you turn the last page.

Here’s hoping you and yours have a great week!