Bookworm corner 📚
Chef's Kiss by Jarrett Melendez and Danica Brine ⭐ 4/5 stars
Genre: m/m contemporary romance graphic novel
I'm a sucker for cooking romances, especially if they're queer. This was a sweet read on my sick day. The characters are very fun.
I would've liked for a little more space for Ben to actually talk to Liam about his feelings and their new relationship.
The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty ⭐ 4/5 stars
Genre: historical fantasy
These books are really great and engrossing in general. I was captivated and obsessed most of the time, and I long to talk to someone who has also read the entire trilogy.
1) It could've been 100 pages shorter. (The audiobook was 27 hours long!) The marid and ifrit stuff got a little too much, and a lot of it didn't go anywhere or could've been condensed.
2) There was a bit of unexplained magic in Nahri's and Dara's connection that could've been used to get around the "we'll never see each other again" ending. It was important that Nahri gave Dara a choice, but also, did he even know one of his choices was still Nahri? Because Nahri was not clear about that.
3) Killing Manizheh was overly justified by turning her into a less complex villain between murdering her people and enslaving Dara.
4) Muntadhir and Jamshid had the actual love story here, and neither of them had a POV. I worried more about them this entire book than any other characters. Instead, we see their reunion from Ali's POV. (Though I'm glad we didn't get more torture scenes.) Then there's the weird bit at the end where Ali pretends he doesn't know about Muntadhir and Jamshid. It would've shown more growth in Ali and his intent to do right by his brother and have a closer relationship.
(Being in love with Jamshid aside, I'd always assumed when Ali slut shamed Muntadhir, it was for sleeping with a lot of people, not just a lot of people who are women. So I was surprised when Ali was like, "my brother is bi!??")
Muntadhir and Jamshid were both stripped of their ideas of self — Muntadhir's pretty looks and Jamshid's soldier strength — and had murderous parents most of the city probably hates, or hates at least one side. Not overlooking that Jamshid’s dad killed Muntadhir’s dad! This is much more interesting. Give me the cozy epilogue about mending trauma, loving each other again, and arguing over domestic stuff since you cannot tell me either of them knows how to like launder their clothing.
5) Nahri never gets to have sex she's enthusiastic about. I thought she'd sleep with Dara or Ali at least once after Dara had sex with the dancer at that party. (Though not being in love with Muntadhir aside, sleeping with his virgin brother would've probably been a disappointment.)
6) It's not unfeminist to have your female character taken care of your male characters. Like Nahri isn't shown as leaning on the support of anyone. Crying with Dara about him leaving and crying with Ali at her mother's traumatic memories do not count.
7) Zaynab was cool af in this book. She deserves more.
8) If Ali and Dara were so alike, it would've been of better use to have them confront each other than make it the reason Nahri gets smitten.
9) Nahri and Jamshid would've been closer at the start of this book, not only when they discover they're siblings/cousins.
10) In the second book, the parent-generation out schemes the children in a vicious slap of realism. In this ending, everyone is okay with two 20-year-olds running the city.
11) Dara is the most interesting and complex character, and he's often the only adult in the room.
Finding Home Volume 4: The Gardener by Hari Conner ⭐ 5/5 stars
Genre: m/m historical fantasy romance graphic novel
This final volume concludes such a beautiful queer story. The writing and the art shine so beautifully to fill out this world. I love this so much, and I will miss reading about Chepi and Janek, but I'm glad they got their HEA.
As a planty person, the art blows me away every time, and the story moved my cold heart to warm fuzzy feelings.