MIA

I will be missing in action this weekend as I make a 7 hour drive up to Grand Rapids, MI! Yes! I am CRAZY! Lol!! I plan to see Leigh Bardugo for her The Language of Thorns tour stop! I figured, it's a Saturday, I've never been to Michigan, it's Leigh Bardugo...so why not?!!!

See you all Monday! 





Review--The Language of Thorns by Leugh Bardugo

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

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.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.





What could be better than a book of fairy tales from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse! I dare you to tell me. As a lover of fairy tales and the darkness that surrounds the original ones, I was stoked to read TheLanguage of Thorns! A book of fairy tales that come from the darkest corners of the Grishaverse is sure to be the highlight of any Bardugo fan’s day!

As I tend to do with short story compilations, I’ll break this down into a set of mini reviews! 

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

This was a story that reminded me of The Storyteller’s Daughter and slightly part Cinderella with the daughter that’s treated terribly. A long time ago, in this faraway kingdom, the king and queen had two sons. But one of them came out monstrous, like truly a monster, the king and queen thought it best to put him in a maze, a labyrinth. And there he has been for many years…until he escapes.

The village then notices that the cattle and other animals are being killed. They suspect the monster/prince.  It’s decided that someone must go to the monster and offer him gifts in exchange for him leaving the remaining cattle alone. Among the villagers is a family that has two daughters, one is beautiful and talented and lovely while her sister is the opposite. Ayama being the less favored daughter is the best choice for the role, as it’s likely the monster will just eat her anyway and they hope that he will be pleased and leave them alone. This is when the story takes on the theme of The Storyteller’s Daughter as Ayama tells him a story in exchange for her life.

This was a fun story and I enjoyed how it turned out in the end! I like how these stories take on some familiar tropes of ones we all grew up in! Loving how that we also get to see what countries in the Grishaverse these stories come from! There’s no telling that the rest of these stories are going to all be equally amazing!

Rating 5/5 stars


The Too Clever Fox

This one immediately sucked me in for the fable that it was! I’ve always associated talking animals and morals with fables. And this story holds true to that belief. Koja is a very clever fox, ever since the day he was born. He’s managed to get himself out of traps making deals and unlike you’d think from a cunning fox, Koja always holds up his end of the bargain.

There’s rumors about a hunter coming to town and Koja and his animal friends soon see evidence of this as more and more of them are disappearing. Koja has the idea to befriend the hunter’s sister in hopes of figuring out the hunter’s power and how he’s able to sneak up on animals unheard.

There was a twist to this one that I saw coming pretty much straight away. Not saying that that’s a bad thing when you uncover the mystery before it’s solved.  I quite enjoyed this one. It was dark and just a little bit sinister. I truly didn’t expect it to end the way it did either!

Rating 5/5 stars


The Witch of Duva

Whoa! Another dark and chilling tale! This one had touches of Hansel and Gretel to it. That being there’s a witch in the woods who likes to eat children. Poor Nayda’s life is in turmoil when her mother dies and father remarries a young harpy of a woman, then her brother goes off to the army. Nayda suspects that Karina, her new stepmother, might be a khitka. It would explain why other village girls have been going missing over the past few months or so.

In true Hansel and Gretel fashion, Nayda finds herself lost in the woods one cold night and seeks shelter in a little house that is home to an old woman, Magda. Magda is definitely a mystery herself, is she a good witch or a bad witch? Who’s to say! Though the truth is soon to be revealed in the very end and just whoa! It’s chilling!!

Rating 5/5 stars


Little Knife

This was yet another surprising tale though maybe not as dark as the previous two. Though there is a shade of darkness to it! The Duke has very a beautiful daughter, Yeva. She is so beautiful that she had been confined to stay indoors, her nursemaid had to be blind for those who had looked upon her stole her for themselves. It’s been a difficult life to say the least. Then when she reaches the age of being marriageable, the Duke lets his greed take over.

He sets an impossible task that he’s sure only a prince with a lot of money and lot of servants can accomplish, but he doesn’t account for Semyon who has the river on his side. Semyon is able to command the river to do his bidding and begs her to help him win the contest so that he may win the beautiful princess. You can see where this is going, the man the Duke doesn’t want to win, wins and he must again set another impossible task.

But like Barudgo’s previous stories, this one ends with a twist you won’t see coming! I can’t think of what fairy tale this reminded me of, all the tasks that that must be accomplished to win the hand of the princess and of course, we’re meant to favor the poor man. It’s bound to drive me crazy for days now trying to think of what fairy tale this reminds me of! Alas, it was still a most intriguing and captivating story!

Rating 4.5/5 stars


The Solider Prince

This was a story reminiscent of The Nutcracker, but obviously with a darker twist! Droessen is an inventor or toymaker of an extravagant kind. His creations are truly unique and different. But he longs for a wife and the girl he sets his eyes on is far younger than him. Hoping to start off a courtship, he woos her with a nutcracker he made.

Clara has grown to love the nutcracker over the years. He’s her favorite toy and at night he comes to life and they go on marvelous adventures. But it’s not long before the nutcracker longs for a life of his own.

This was perhaps the hardest story for me to really get into for some reason. I still enjoyed it and its plentiful twists and turns. Though I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing some hidden connection to the whole thing. I might have missed something or other and perhaps my mind was elsewhere when reading. I did enjoy this one despite a few issues and I found the ending to be most shocking and enjoyable!

Rating 4/5 stars


When Water Sang Fire

This was the longest of all the stories and definitely one that was most intriguing! I didn't quite catch onto the tale that it relates to until the near end. And it was actually within the author's note page that my suspicion was proven correct!

This is a tale of two mermaids, Ulla and Signy, who become unlikely friends. Every year the mermaids are allowed to go up to land and spend some time there before returning home and despite her parents protests, Ulla decides to go with Signy and their new friend, Roffe who is the youngest prince in the line for the throne.

Their time on land proves fruitful as Ulla learns things she never thought possible and it seems Roffe had ulterior motives for wanting to go to land. This was definitely a story that tugged at my heartstrings for the things that happened! Unfortunately, I can't even choose adjectives for fear of leading you to spoiler territory. This story pretty much wrecked me for all the feels I had! Definitely a winner!

Rating 4.5/5 stars


Having read all these stories now, at various points, I have to say that this was one wicked awesome collection! I've always been a fan of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings! When you put Leigh Bardugo at the helm and drawing from these same stories but twisting them to fit in her Grishaverse, you know you hold in your hands a GREAT read!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars





 

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict
 
 
This week's question is: Have you ever slept with a favorite, beloved book under your pillow, or cradled in your arms? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
 
 
MY ANSWER: Hmm...I don't think so. I think I was most afraid of the book pages being bent or the cover getting creased. Damage to a book while I was incapacitated would've led to heartbreak! Lol.
 
Though as a child? I can't say for sure. My memory doesn't extend that far I guess. But I guess it could've been because hardcovers hurt and again, not wanting to bend my paperbacks.
 
 
 
 

Review--There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

It's been almost a year since Makani Young came to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, and she's still adjusting to her new life. And still haunted by her past in Hawaii.


One-by-one, the students of her small town high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, Makani will be forced to confront her own dark secrets.
 

Stephanie Perkins, bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss, returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.



There’s Someone Inside Your House is Stephanie Perkins’ first thriller novel and I have to say it wasn’t all that bad! Early reviews had scared me a bit because people weren’t enjoying it and I knew Stephanie was known for her previous contemporary series, so I admit I was a little concerned about enjoyment and thrilling levels and really it was a pretty solid read!

Makani has moved to Nebraska after an “incident” in Hawaii and lives with her grandmother. Her grandmother’s health is on a slow decline with sleeping walking issues, so they basically take care of each other. Makani is starting her senior year at high school and things are rather sedate in their quiet little town of Osborne. But then a girl is murdered and pretty much everything begins to fall apart thereafter as it becomes clear that their quiet little town has been invaded by a serial killer.

I started this book on the wrong foot, because apparently Goodreads didn’t use the full description that included Makani! It really just leaves out the first paragraph from the dust jacket that basically clues you in on your main character and who you’ll follow around! So when the book opens with a girl being murdered I was baffled! Clearly reading the sampler to begin the story wasn’t the best idea because it didn’t have the description of the story and it was sort of discombobulating to think that our main character was killed within pages! I started wondering if this is how the book would be told. This is clearly an error on my part and Goodreads for that matter too!

This story also includes romance as well, which I was well prepared for too. Makani had a summer fling with Ollie, one of the police officer’s younger brothers. Ollie has his own dark past and secrets as well. It makes him and Makani a fitting pair in a sense. The romance was kind of sweet too. It may take over the story a little and just as you’re wondering if this will turn into a full on romance novel, someone else gets killed too.

I found it really interesting that we get these chapters from the victim’s point of view. The novel is in third person point of view, but we follow Makani for the most part until the moments when we happen upon a new person and these end up being the killer’s victims. It was a little intense reading those chapters because it lets you see how freaking sick the killer is.

I was also aware that our killer’s identity is revealed fairly early on, but I will say that doesn’t take away the scary factor too much. Despite knowing the name of the killer, the killer (yup vague terms that get repetitive all to protect the identity…of the killer) is still on the loose and still killing.

I have to say that despite the claims that this wasn’t as thrilling as some readers had expected I will say that it was far more gruesome than I anticipated as well! The killings were brutal and sick. But that just shows that Stephanie can write a pretty great villain! The kind of villain that’s real and a type I hope to never ever cross paths with for that matter as well!

There’s Someone Inside Your House was a rather quick little read. It has it ups and downs, but for the most part I was kept on the edge of my seat wanting to know just who will survive this reign of terror the killer is inflicting! Not all will survive and the end pretty left me with my jaw dropped in a few aspects! There’s a darkness to this book as well in terms of past events, but it makes for good reading and well developed-characters! This is definitely the kind of book you want to read on a dark, lonely night when you’re home alone! (Or if you’re like me, midday during broad daylight!)

 

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars




Random Thursday

And today is the last Thursday of the month, so it's the last day we'll visit That's a Fact Jack: A Collection of Utterly Useless Information [Updated] by Harry Bright and Jakob Anser until November! Next month we return to Disney Facts!!


(image borrowed from Srune)
"On February 8, 2000, the meaning of life was auctioned on eBay. The auction's description read: 'I have discovered the reason for our existence and will be happy to share this information with the highest bidder.' After eight bids were placed the meaning of life was sold for $3.26."

I can't believe it sold for so much! LOL!!


(image borrowed from Biography.com)
"American inventor Thomas Edison held over 1500 patents, including those for the phonograph, kinetoscope, dictaphone, radio, lightbulb, autographic printer, and tattoo gun."

I just keep looking at that "tattoo gun"!


(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
"The first film version of Frankenstein was a 15-minute silent produced by Thomas Edison."

NO WAY!! Sorry Boris, you weren't the first!


(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
"When Thomas Edison died in 1941, Henry Ford captured his last breath in a bottle."

Uhh...okay...


(image borrowed from Model T Ford Club of America)
"Henry Ford invented the modern charcoal briquette from sawdust and scarp wood generated in his automobile factory. Ford encouraged people to use their cars on picnic outings by offering barbecue grills and Ford Charcoal at his automobile dealerships."

Huh. Didn't know that at all!






Mini Review--The Maiden Thief by Melissa Marr

"The Maiden Thief" by Melissa Marr is a dark fantasy novelette about a teenager whose town is plagued by the annual disappearances of girls and young women. Her father blames her when one of her sisters is one of the taken.














The Maiden Thief is Melissa Marr’s version of the Blue Beard story and my, it was a fascinating one! It’s another short little read that I was quick to devour in my somewhat spooky read binge I have going on! Lol! I mean what could be creepier than Blue Beard? Though I admit, it’s been ages since I read the original. I may have to do that again eventually!

In Verena’s little village she’s noticed that young girls have gone missing every year. It always seems to happen on her birthday. Verena lives with her sisters and father after having lost her mother and brother to the sea. And then one day, Verena’s sister Amina is the next to be taken and Verena feels as if she’s to blame.

Verena remains close to her last sister, Amina. And it’s shortly thereafter that Amina has found herself a love. She sees him in secret and Verena is happy for her but when she believes Amina runs away with this new stranger she is left all alone and saddened. Knowing where this is going, we find that Amina was the next one to vanish while her lover, Jakob had no clue what had happened as he was traveling away. Soon he and Verena start a romance.

Even knowing the story of Blue Beard I still found this one to be enjoyable and exciting! It’s the perfect kind of read for Halloween because it’s just so super creepy! Again, my memory of the original tale isn’t so great, so I am not sure how many details were kept true and what ones were twisted a bit to fit the author’s liking, but regardless I felt like it did a good job of being unique and memorable! I especially enjoyed this one’s ending!

A nice quick little read that is, once again, perfect for Halloween!




Overall Rating 5/5 stars 





OF FLAME AND FATE BLOG TOUR: ARC Review--Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson


Join us in celebrating the release of OF FLAME AND FATE by Cecy Robson! Follow the tour for reviews, excerpts, and fun. Plus enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card and three runners-up will win a digital copy of book #1 in the series, OF FLAME AND LIGHT.


Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.




I received this ARC from Caffeinated Services in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.


Taran is back in style in Cecy Robson’s Of Flame and Fate! The Weird Girls continues the story with the future of all paranormal kind resting on the shoulders of Celia’s children. Taran charges herself of helping to protect her sister and is also out to protect Destiny, who is the one who can See Celia’s children’s future.

Things get kind of thrown through a loop when suddenly Fate makes an appearance into the exosphere. Johnny Fate is a young musician trying to make a name for himself, but when he and Destiny collide, things happen! Nothing good comes from this as Destiny suddenly becomes very ill. Things then get very dicey as a lot hangs on Destiny so they can know what’s in store for Celia and her children. If Destiny dies, things might change and at the moment, change isn’t a good thing.

Worried that something might happen to Johnny as well, Taran decides to protect him while Destiny is being looked after. Johnny’s powers as Fate are a little unclear but protecting him is vital. And this is where the vampires and Misha come in! Misha has his own set of things happening as well, but those details are very clear just yet. Perhaps in the next book or so we might see more expanding on that.

I’ve pretty much loves this series since it began with Celia and her journey/story. And I love that she and Aric are still involved even though this is Taran’s turn to shine! Though I will say I am DYING for Emme to take the spotlight! Ever since that THING happened in Of Flame and Light I have been wanting to know more! Thankfully Taran does notice little details and we get a few more teases, but I’m really anxious to see more from it! I guess since Emme’s the little sister and I’m the younger sister, I feel a connection to her! Plus everything that’s happened in her cycle of things in romance makes me ache for her! Hence the reason why I NEED her book asap!!

But back to Taran, because she was always a favorite as well because of her fiery attitude (no pun intended…okay, a little intended!)! I’ve loved watching Taran grow as well! She and Gemini have worked out the bulk of their issues and now it seems they have the usual couple issues that tend to pop up regarding futures, safety and the like! I love that Taran still remains the strong and independent young woman that she’s been since the beginning!

The story starts off at a slightly slower pace, we’re thrust in the middle of an adventure that Taran is on and it was a smidge discombobulating at first. As it can be when you’re returning to a series after a year and lot of books in between since you last joined the characters. After that initial disorientation things get on track to the story at large and then things are smooth sailing! I’d say pacing wise at this point was spot on. It’s not all action packed and fast paced, but truly a perfect rate where we have moments of action, tension builders, romantic interludes and other story-building moments! Cecy’s got pacing down to an art!

The ending to this one was pretty exciting too! Nothing too cliffhangery. More like OMG moments and you’re just ready for the next Weird Girls book to come! Hopefully maybe with Emme at the helm, unless we still have one more Taran book! I can’t remember what Cecy said was going to happen in that realm of things! But anyway, The Weird Girls series is definitely one fans of Urban Fantasy should check out! It’s what I’d likely consider classic UF as you have an incredible plot coupled with romance! Plus, since this is Taran we’re talking about, you can bet on there being more than a few laughs! Of Flame and Fate was yet another amazingly GREAT read by Cecy Robson!


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars





Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2y92gex
Buy Now: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
  





OF FLAME AND FATE Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Cecy Robson


The doors crash open as a pack of weres in human form stomp in, the exception being an immense, midnight-black wolf with a white left paw who leads them. His lips peel back, exposing a row of pointy fangs as he growls at the vampires surrounding me. But it’s the man storming forward with dark almond eyes and a six-inch dagger in his hand that gives me pause.
“Hi, honey,” I say, giving him a little wave.
Funny thing, he doesn’t wave back. His gaze swoops over my naked body. “Hold her,” he snarls, ramming the knife into my thigh.
Reality shoves aside the shock of having the man I love stab me in the leg. Like a heated blade through butter, he slices through the skin and muscle, creating a diagonal line and spraying blood across the glass shower walls. I expect pain, scorching white-hot pain, and to lose my blood supply in large volumes. But like the creepy crawly beneath my skin, I just feel that wretched pulling and grabbing.
My bleeding trickles to a stop just as Gemini’s hand plunges deep into the incision. The image is so graphic and brutal my stomach lurches. I’m seconds from passing out. The vamps on either side of me are the only thing keeping me vertical. But when my focus latches onto the hilt of the dagger, and I realize it’s a femur—a freaking femur!— my body immediately slumps.
Of course, that’s not the worst part.
The tangle of bodies, limbs, and faces, carved around the hilt twitch, as if seizing, breaking free of what’s holding them to slither. Oh, and it gets better. The mouths open, singing one messed up version of O Fortuna.
“Jesus Christ,” I gasp, my body trembling violently as their slowly amplifying voices echo across the room.
Agnes grips my jaw, yanking my face toward her. “Taran, get it together before you set this whole place on fire.”
I wrench my head free. “Don’t you think I’m trying?!”
I bite back a curse, and a few more, when something scampers toward my right butt cheek.
It doesn’t get far. Gemini thrusts his hand deep, wrenching a large, screeching lump from my leg, exciting the minute faces continuing to sing and slide along the hilt. Their voices crescendo and their bodies writhe with glee. I don’t get a good look at the demon impaled by the dagger, and I don’t want to. I only see enough to realize I was right about the spindly legs and pinchers.
Gemini carries the shrieking demon to the sink, ignoring the way the long cluster of centipede legs kick out and clutch blindly at the air. I wish I could ignore it. But those things you can’t unsee? I’ve seen plenty in my twisted, messed up life and this is one more to add to my list.
Gemini holds out his free hand. Without asking, a vamp drops an opened bottle of vodka into his palm. Gemini pours the vodka over the demon, stunning it and causing the legs to fall open like petals—nasty petals covered with blood, pointy grippy ends, and little bits of me.
With a turn of his wrist, he drops the demon into the sink. It falls with a sick plop.
Agnes’s weight abruptly pulls off me when she stands and hurries to the sink. She flicks a lighter another vamp tosses her and drops it on top of the demon. “Ad infernum,” she tells it, sending it back to hell.
The vamps step away from me as the flames spray up to lick the ceiling. The exception is Edith who remains on her knees, clutching my leg between her breasts and sealing my wound with several fast and enthusiastic strokes of her tongue.
Get away from her,” Gemini demands. His voice is more beast than human, setting off an orchestra of snarls from the rest of the pack.
Like a very hungry dog with a bone, Edith doesn’t want to let go. Gemini doesn’t give her a choice. From one breath to the next, he rips me from her, wrapping me in a blanket someone hands him and carrying me away.




Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and (3) Digital Copies OF FLAME AND LIGHT from Cecy Robson!