Short Stories For Autumn

November 8, 2017 in Book Reviews, Short Stories

There’s something about this time of year that lends itself beautifully to curling up in a favourite chair with a cuppa, a blanket and a compilation of short stories. Don’t you think? So today I thought I’d share with you two of my recent reads that I think are perfect for reading right now!

Short Stories For AutumnThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
on 26th September 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Fantasy
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

I’ve long been a Leigh Bardugo fan and her Grishaverse is one of my favourite worlds to visit. So when she announced she’d be publishing a collection of Grishaverse short stories inspired by myth, fairy tale and folklore I was beyond excited! Like many folk, I’d read a few of the tales years ago but this collection brings together three of these stories and three brand-new tales! What’s more they are packaged within the most gorgeously finished book I think I’ve ever seen!

This beautifully illustrated edition contains imagery which changes with every turn of the page – the more you read, the more of the image you see until the final page when we are introduced to the final full-spread illustration.

As you’d expect from Bardugo, her stunning, rich writing pairs perfectly with these illustrations. Each tale is beautifully crafted – each page one to savour. I can’t recommend this enough, it’s just a thoroughly breath-taking book.

 

Short Stories For AutumnThe Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
on 2nd November 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.'

Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

I’ve been excited for this book for a long time – Jen Campbell’s first collection of adult fiction. Up until now, she’s written non-fiction, poetry and this year she released her first children’s picture book (it’s fab) so I couldn’t wait to dive into this collection of short stories. I wasn’t disappointed!

Jen shares with us 12 tales which draw upon her love of myths, fairytales and their histories. Her writing is captivating as she weaves stories that are all individual and highly memorable. It’s dark at times, strange and whimsical too – and you’ll find it impossible to put it down after each story. I intended to savour this book but I devoured it, I didn’t want to leave Jen’s writing. The perfect mixture of fantasy and magical realism, this book is not to be missed.

I hate to mention the word Christmas so soon but this would make the perfect Christmas gift, and Jen will even sign, dedicate and wrap copies for you if you order through her website – the ultimate special gift!

Mini Review: Crooked Kingdom

October 17, 2016 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

Mini Review: Crooked KingdomCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Published by Orion on 27th September 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable.
But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, they're low on resources, allies and hope.
While a war rages on the city's streets, the team's fragile loyalties are stretched to breaking point.
Kaz and his crew will have to make sure they're on the winning side... no matter what the cost.

Crooked Kingdom was one of my most-anticipated releases of the year. I adored Six of Crows and couldn’t wait for the second book in this duology. I’ve long been a fan of Bardugo; her Grisha trilogy was outstanding and I find myself frequently recommending it to readers young and old alike. So would Crooked Kingdom live up to my high expectations?

The simple answer is YES. A slightly longer answer is that it’s absolute perfection! No, seriously, it’s bloody brilliant.

If you haven’t read Six of Crows then you should really stop reading here and go pick up a copy (or check out my review from last year). Although I won’t be posting any Crooked Kingdom spoilers, there will be Six of Crows spoilers, so, fair warning!

At the end of Six of Crows, we left our favourite gang missing one key, kidnapped member of the troop. Having been played by Van Eck, they were a team member down and 30 million kruge light. In Crooked Kingdom, we see the crew fighting for their lives, seeking revenge and scheming like there’s no tomorrow!

So what can I say about this book?

The writing? Beautiful.

The characters? Better than ever.

The plot? Fast paced, twisty and action packed.

The conclusion to this duology? EPIC!

Need I say more?

I’ve genuinely no idea what I’m going to read next. How on earth am I going to find a book to follow this? If you have Crooked Kingdom sitting in your TBR pile, drop whatever you’re reading and pick it up. You won’t be disappointed!

What’s next Leigh Bardugo? I can’t wait to find out!

five-stars

Review: Six of Crows

September 26, 2015 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Six of CrowsSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Indigo on 29th September 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

- from Goodreads

Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors. Her Grisha trilogy is a series that grabbed me from the start and had me waiting on tenterhooks for the remaining two books. So when I heard that she had started a new series, in the same world as the Grisha series, but with a very different plot, I started counting down the days until publication.

I was extremely lucky to receive an ARC of this book. I promise you that I squealed when it arrived in the post! (My Mum was staying, she can testify to that.) After so much anticipation, would this book live up to my high expectations of Bardugo’s work? It did – it was AWESOME!

I’m not usually one for book comparisons, but if you’re a fan of Locke Lamora, a Grisha fan, or even an Ocean’s Eleven fan, then you’ll like this beauty of a book.

Told from multiple perspectives, we are introduced to one of Ketterdam’s gangs – The Dregs. Kaz, their leader, is a young man with a dangerous reputation and a criminal mind. When offered a heist that would make him rich beyond his wildest dreams, Kaz gathers a group of fellow talented outcasts and hatches a plan.

On paper the heist should be impossible, but Kaz and his crew aren’t ones to shy from a challenge. Combining some of the fantastical elements of the Grisha world, with some clever, criminal masterminding, this is a story that will keep you absolutely enthralled.

You don’t have to have read the Grisha trilogy to enjoy this book – although I think if you read this first then you’ll be running out to get your hands on the Grisha series! I did really enjoy the references made to characters in the Grisha series – paths that overlapped slightly, a nod to the happenings in Ravka. I thought that was pretty cool, but as I say, you don’t have to read the other series first.

I find that books written from the perspective of multiple characters can sometimes leave the reader a bit disconnected from the characters. That absolutely isn’t the case with Six of Crows. Bardugo’s characters are well-rounded and fully-formed. I don’t know how she manages it in just over 500 pages, but we learn the histories, often harrowing, of all the main characters. Personally, I found myself invested in each member of the crew. I’ll admit that I had my favourites (Kaz & Inej), but at no point did I feel a character was just making up the numbers. I loved that all six have their own individual talents and well as challenges, fears and dreams. The dynamic between them all works really well and I found myself rooting for each and every one of them!

In all honesty I actually can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this book. It has a bit of everything! It’s cleverly crafted, written with Bardugo’s own incredible style, and tense enough that you won’t be able to put it down.

Seriously guys, read this! I actually kind of want to read it again already.

The books itself is out on Tuesday 29th September, but remember that if you pre-order you can enter to win some awesome prizes. All the details are here and you must have your entry in by midnight Monday 28th.

 

five-stars

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

June 29, 2013 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fiction, YA, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Published by Indigo Genres: Fantasy, YA
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power the thrusts her into the world of the kingdom's magical elite - the Grisha. Could she be the key to setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina's childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can't she ever quite forget him?

Wow, I absolutely love Shadow and Bone. I’d read quotes comparing it to other well known fantasy fiction but to be honest I don’t think it is right to compare. This book needs no comparison, it’s brilliant in its own right.

From the very first page you find yourself drawn in to the lives of Alina and Mal, two orphans living in the nation of Ravka. It’s hard to believe how far their journey will take them, what they will discover about themselves and what they will experience along the way.

Described as Young Adult fiction I can see why this would be loved by young adults, but that’s not to say it won’t be enjoyed by us older folk too. I couldn’t put the book down. I have rarely been so absorbed in a story and the need to find out what will happen next. I actually got to the point that I didn’t want the book to end so I put off reading it for a day or two so I wouldn’t have to face the last page!

I’m not going to give any spoilers away, I’m not going to analyse the book, I’m just going to say read it!

The book beautifully sets itself up for a series and I’m delighted to say that the second book Siege and Storm was published earlier this month, with a third due for publication next year. If I found it hard to come to terms with the end of book one, knowing that Siege and Storm is there waiting to be read, I’m not sure how I will deal with the wait for the third, Ruin and Rising!

A brilliant read!

If you are interested in viewing a trailer for the book click here or check out the Fierce Fiction YouTube Channel – enjoy!

I was sent a copy of this book as I’m proud to be a Gollanz Geek. All opinions are entirely my own and completely honest.
five-stars