Stacking the Shelves: 12/21/19

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!


Received for Review:

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Orbit has been very good to me since my last Stacking the Shelves post and (unless otherwise specified) all these great looking books are from them! If only I could take off a week and do nothing but read!

The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

After what feels like forever, the finale to the Licanius trilogy has arrived! It’s a monster of a book and I do hope I can get to it soon.

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan

This was another of my most anticipated books (and series finales) of the year. I loved Blood of Empire and have already reviewed it – click on the link above to check it out.

Legacy of Ash by Matthew  Ward

And this lovely chunker has been released in digital format, but the paperback print format will be out in April 2020. This is the beginning of a new fantasy trilogy that has great reviews!

The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

This sounds like it’s going to be a great book with a strong theme of sibling rivalry. I love the cover and was so excited to receive an ARC!

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Bright Steel by Miles Cameron

This is another one I’ve already read and will have a review up soonish. There are SO many series finales in this haul which is pretty awesome. This was a good one with a satisfying conclusion.

Crownbreaker by Sebastien de Castell

What will Kellen and Reichis do in this final book of the Spellslinger series? Will the shadowblack overtake Kellen? Will Reichis get to eat all the biscuits he wants?

Where Gods Fear to Go by Angus Watson

WOW ANOTHER SERIES FINALE. I guess all the authors were trying to wrap things up before the end of the decade. I’m very excited to check this out and see what happens in the West of West.

Wyntertide by Andrew Caldecott

This is the second book in the Rotherweird series. I felt the first book worked well enough as a standalone, so I’m not in a huge hurry to get around to this, but at the same time I’m intrigued. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for the finished copy.

Walk the Wild with Me by Rachel Atwood

This was a lovely arrival from DAW that I had previously featured after getting an eARC. You can check out my review HERE.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

I’ve been so excited for this and received an eARC right before it was released. Thanks to Delacorte Press.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

I loved Foundryside and am STOKED to check this out! Thanks to Del Rey Books for the eARC!

The Sin in the Steel by Ryan van Loan

With a description featuring pirate queens and describing the two characters as being like Holmes and Watson I immediately snagged a copy of this. It sounds fantastic, though it won’t be out until July and it doesn’t even have a cover yet.

My Purchases:

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I won’t go into detail on the individual books, but these are from the various book boxes I’ve been trying out. I love the exclusive editions that these come with – altered covers, sprayed edges, and interior dust jacket art galore!

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These are two books I’ve had my eye on for awhile and decided to pick them up after Thanksgiving. The Flavor Bible is a great reference for what flavors pair well together and Gran Cocina Latina is a monstrous cookbook full of recipes from the length and breadth of South and Central America.

And, finally, here are all the audiobooks I’ve picked up since mid-October. I’ve had such a wealth of new books to listen to and they’ve all been great so far!

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan – Review

Cover- Blood of Empire

Published: December 2, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: Gods of Blood & Powder #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 592 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

As the final battle approaches a sellsword, a spy, and a general must find unlikely and dangerous allies in order to turn the tides of war in this epic fantasy tale of magic and gunpowder by acclaimed author Brian McClellan.

The Dynize have unlocked the Landfall Godstone, and Michel Bravis is tasked with returning to Greenfire Depths to do whatever he can to prevent them from using its power; from sewing dissension among the enemy ranks to rallying the Palo population.

Ben Styke’s invasion of Dynize is curtailed when a storm scatters his fleet. Coming ashore with just twenty lancers, he is forced to rely on brains rather than brawn – gaining new allies in a strange land on the cusp of its own internal violence.

Bereft of her sorcery and physically and emotionally broken, Lady Vlora Flint now marches on Landfall at the head of an Adran army seeking vengeance against those who have conspired against her. While allied politicians seek to undo her from within, she faces insurmountable odds and Dynize’s greatest general.


Blood of Empire is by far one of my most anticipated books of 2019 and it 100% lived up to my expectations. There’s nothing better than the conclusion of a series being both satisfying and awesome, particularly one that’s had such extensive world building. The Powder Mage Trilogy was stellar, so upon the announcement of a second trilogy following many of our favorite characters decades later, I was happier than a kid in a candy shop. To have the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy turn out just as powerfully as the Powder Mage books pleases me immensely as a reader! 

Wrath of Empire left some characters about to enter rather precarious situations and Blood of Empire saw them leaping headfirst into them. Ben Styke, Ka-Poel, and the Mad Lancers were speedily headed for Dynize in an attempt to secure the third godstone. Imagine their surprise when they arrive and find that it’s been found and is in quite a populous area. Madness ensues. Vlora is powder-blind and Olem-less and she’s near to the point of breaking as a result of the two. This made for some rather harrowing chapters, as she lacks the enhancements that made her nigh invincible on the field of battle and she must rely on others to take the big risks. Michel Bravis, former Blackhat and still a spy, was surprisingly one of my favorite characters in the series. His character growth (and change) was impressive and well, he’s a pretty tough dude and is ALWAYS in over his head.

This was a dramatic conclusion with plenty of action, treachery, and epic moments where I couldn’t help but cheer for the characters. I loved that we got to see inside Dynize culture and it really helped flesh out the story even more. We got bits of that in the second book where Michel became part of a household, but the characters being in Dynize was another level. I loved those chapters – so much dirty politicking!! I have one quibble with the whole book and it’s that the ending felt rather hurried, though on the other hand, it was nice to just one shot the bad guy without dragging the whole thing out. I had to go back and re-read that particular section just to make sure I hadn’t misread something. Nonetheless, it was satisfying and the number of epilogue chapters was fantastic – it answered things, though left room for you to imagine how lives might play out in this new world.

My overall opinion of this series is beyond positive and I can’t recommend it enough. This world Brian McClellan has so lovingly constructed for his readers ranks as one of my all-time favorites in terms of creativity, culture, and character. It’s quite something and has made me seek out other “flintlock fantasies” to fill the void in between reading his books.