Throwback Thursday: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
 To be completely honest, Leigh Bardugo wasn’t on my radar until after the release of Six of Crows when I attended ALA for the first time through work.  I had heard really great things about it and that the sequel would be releasing soon, so I bought a used copy of Shadow and Bone to get signed and made up bookplates as well.  Just in case I fell in love with her writing 🙂
After meeting her briefly in the signing line and seeing her have lots of fun up on stage with Marissa Meyer, who I did love, I was convinced I would love Leigh’s books as well.  Unfortunately, I still didn’t get around to making time to read any of them until last week.  When I knew I was planning to meet her on tour tomorrow!  (I think it might have been that the original cover doesn’t appeal to me very much.)
The Gathering Dark (The Grisha, #1)
When I finally did start reading the first Grisha book, I was not at all surprised to find that I did like the story.  A lot!  I was compulsively reading it whenever possible and finished it quickly.  There are a lot of reviews out there that break the book down and talk about worldbuilding and characterization (both are great).  And plenty of fans that will tell you how amazing the author is (it’s true).  Plus several that will mention that the story isn’t new (because it’s not).  However, the only opinion that matters is how this story makes you feel.  That’s what reading is all about, right?
I liked this story a lot.  The characters were fun and the world was interesting (if a little confusing on some points).  But it made me remember why I like reading.  And that’s pretty awesome 🙂  So I definitely plan to finish this first trilogy and dive into Six of Crows with high expectations.  And hopefully, Leigh stills has some stories to tell in this world!
Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Summary:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

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Throwback Thursday: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Storm Siren (Storm Siren, #1)

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published August 19th 2014 by Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins

Here’s a book that’s been on my TBR for ages (well I guess only 3 years since that was when it was released), and I finally made time to read it.  To be honest, it happened because I find out that the author was coming to ALA, and I wanted to collect her signature 🙂  But I’m so glad that I did!

After reading Roar by Cora Carmack earlier this year, I was ready to read more weather magic stories.  Storm Siren did not disappoint, and, as a bonus, had some intriguing eccentric characters that I wasn’t expecting to see.  The world building was also intriguing, and I hope we get to explore more of that in the second and third books.  Overall, I basically ploughed threw this book to finish it as quickly as possible because it was so good!  Great pacing and characters do that for you though 🙂

One thing that killed me: it ends on a major cliffhanger!!  Normally, I hate that, but since the whole series is out, I can pick up the story where it left out at any time.  Also, I checked the beginning of book 2 and can tell you that it retells that last bit of this book and continues right where it left off.

Have you read this book/series?  What did you like or dislike?

Summary:

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

 

Throwback Thursday: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti (Binti, #1)

Paperback, 90 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Tor.com
Novellas, short stories, and other short fiction and I have never really gotten along.  Mainly because I grow attached to characters and always want more of their stories.  That said, I recently discovered the wonderful collection of novellas published by Tor.com, and fell in love with the wonderful worlds and splendid plots laid out by the authors.
Binti by Nnedi was one that I was drawn to upon learning about its main character’s heritage (drawn from African lore I believe) and the strange jellyfish-like aliens that she encounters.  I did find myself growing attached in such a way that when I turned the last page it was with regret for having to leave that world after only 90 short pages.  Luckily, Binti’s story is not over.  There is a second book already out and a third is planned for January of 2018.  I think I’ll wait to read them all together though as I don’t want to face the same heartache too soon.
Nnedi’s other work includes Akata Witch, which I’m excited to start reading soon, and Who Fears Death, which has been recently optioned for a TV series with HBO.  I hope they don’t screw it up 🙂

Summary:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

Throwback Thursday: The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagne

The Saga of Rex

Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Image Comics
Considering this is a mostly wordless graphic novel that originally featured in the Flight anthology series, The Saga of Rex is absolutely adorable and tells a fun but traumatic story of a little fox on an epic journey through space.  The artwork is quite amazing and I was hooked from the title page art, which shows the little fox bent down and nose-to-nose with a little, orange fish-bug.  The whole story conveys deep emotions from all over the spectrum and constructs a heartwarming tale of love and adventure.  There isn’t much else I can say, except read it and share it (careful with the really young readers though).  And then go watch the short video on YouTube that the author created!

Summary:

A little fox named Rex is plucked from his home world by a mysterious spaceship and transported to the arcane world of Edernia, where he meets Aven, an enigmatic biomorph with a flying saucer. Follow his epic journey as he travels through outer-worldly landscapes, faces strange perils, and makes surprising encounters.

Throwback Thursday: The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey

The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey

It’s been awhile since I had a chance to re-read a book, so I chose a shorter one to focus on.  I don’t remember what exactly triggered my desire to re-read The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey, but I’m glad that I picked it up.

I think my favorite part of this book is how the author interwove the “parables” into the main story without compromising either part.  Or it might be that the narrator breaks the fourth wall occasionally, which I greatly enjoy in both books and movies.  I do know that the initial reason I picked it up, when I was younger, was because of my love for the 1001 nights.  And although I haven’t read all of those tales, I have read quite a few re-tellings/adaptations that were quite fun.

I haven’t had a chance to read The Wrath and the Dawn yet, but with all the amazing reviews, it may bump this version from my favorite version’s seat.  Here are just a few of the others I’ve read over the years:

Shadow SpinnerCastle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2)Keturah and Lord Death

What do you think?  Have you read any of these?  Which is your favorite version?  Did I miss it?  Let me know in the comments!

Throwback Thursday: Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers

Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books

Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books

by Charlotte Rivers

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

R: Recommended (This is at the top of the pile.)

Give it Time (It’ll grow on you.)

Pros:

  • Easy to read layout with informational text and photographic examples
  • Multiple examples from all over the world
  • Great hands-on, step-by-step projects
  • Ability to lay the book flat while working on your projects
  • Written without too much unexplained jargon

Cons:

  • The title led me to believe the book would focus more on making your own projects

Overall, I really enjoyed both the layout and subject matter.  Having recently completed a college course in bookbinding, I would highly recommend this book to anyone taking a similar class or who is interested in learning about bookbinding across the globe.  Public and school libraries would find this title to be a useful addition to their craft section.

Throwback Thursday: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

R★: Highly recommended. (Must-read right now!) Creative Must (Does something different really well.) I had to stay up last night just to finish this book. While the beginning was a little slow with world-building, the pace quickly grabbed my...

R★: Highly recommended. (Must-read right now!)

Creative Must (Does something different really well.)

I had to stay up last night just to finish this book. While the beginning was a little slow with world-building, the pace quickly grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. As a humorous breakdown of horror stereotypes in a MG novel, the characters really came to life.  Majordomo-the Frankenstein monster, Cook and her son Angus-minotaurs, Serenissima-she’s completely unique, and Pins-a voodoo doll come to life.  Here’s what you need to know about this book!

Pros:
Great characterization and well-rounded cast
Main character had to confront a bully, but she had great support from friends
Catch more flies with honey not vinegar trope well-used
Twisted horror tropes
Firm conclusion with space for a sequel (NOT a cliff-hanger ending)
Fun art throughout
Enjoyable for all ages

Cons:
Beginning was a little slow to set the stage
The tasks and Board of Magic were a bit confusing at times

This is definitely a title every library should have, and it should be added to bully prevention lists for its portrayal of support.

 

Reviewed from an uncorrected proof.

Throwback Thursday: Rose by Holly Webb

Rose (Rose, #1)

R: Recommended (This is at the top of the pile.)

Creative Must (Does something different really well.)

A young orphan is chosen to become a maid in the house of an alchemist, Mr. Fountain, but as she learns her duties around the house, she becomes aware of the magic that permeates it.  Magic that the other staff can’t see or feel.  Not long after she starts work, news comes that children are disappearing off the street, and Rose soon finds herself looking for a missing orphan friend.

I received this book from the publisher in anticipation of the sequel’s release and blog tour.  (Look for my review here with a giveaway of Rose and the Lost Princess on May 18!)

Originally published in the UK, there are numerous facets of this book built towards a UK audience; however, since the story is set in a magic-filled Victorian England, there is no required fore-knowledge.  Especially since the author takes plenty of time to set up the orphanage and the world building around Rose.  The rest of the world beyond Rose is absent except for the occasional passing mention.  For example, since Rose lived at an orphanage too poor to afford magic, there is no mention of magic at all before she learns of her new master’s position, but Rose brushing this information to the side with very little concern until she discovers she might have a magical side.

The pacing for this book flowed so well, I didn’t realize I was halfway through the book the first night I picked it up.  The villain was incredibly creepy and reminded me of the Elizabeth Bathory legend, but that plot point seemed to come from almost nowhere as there was very little build up.  The climax of the story made sense though and left the reader with a sense of wanting more from these characters and this world.  I look forward to finishing Rose and the Lost Princess.

This title is especially suited for young readers who enjoyed the movie Annie or the Harry Potter series and for those who enjoy reading something light now and then.

Throwback Thursday: Willow: Wonderland by Jeff Parker and Christos Goage

Willow: Wonderland

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: WillowWonderland
Script: Jeff Parker and Christos Gage
Pencils: Brian Ching
Inks: Jason Gorder
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s  Jimmy Betancourt

Reviewed from NetGalley ARC

Rating: R    Creative Must

Just months after Buffy destroys the seed of magic in order to save the world (again), Willow starts to notice changes all around her. Her friends just think she misses the power she had when magic was around; however, power is not the only thing missing.  Rainbows only have two colors, no one can hit a note, suicide rates are rising, and creativity is slowly deteriorating.  As she leaves to find a solution, Willow explores new dimensions and herself while confronting her past.  Giant worms try to eat her; she’s drugged and kept pliant; a large blue caterpillar gives her magic memory water; the protagonist overcomes the challenges that hamper her on the way to her goal–finding or creating a pipeline of magic that flows back to Earth.

Any Buffyverse fan will enjoy this side-trip that features Willow the witch and her delicate relationship with magic.  The artists rendered highly detailed comic-style graphics, which allows the reader to better visualize the fantastical landscapes, which the characters jump between during their quest.  Many of the characters play no bigger part than to reaffirm the protagonist’s inner monolog as she tries to find the root of her magic anxieties.  Fortunately, Willow didn’t come across as whiny, which is a recurring problem when other authors portray self-doubt and misery.  To best understand this iteration of Buffy, the reader needs to have a working knowledge of the seven season television program and the Season 8 comic series.  Reading Season 9, Faith & Angel, and even Spike’s side story will give the reader an even deeper appreciation for Willow’s journey to bring magic back to Earth.  By the end of this graphic novel, the reader will wonder how many hidden references were included.  The many clues about where Season 9 will take the fan base as Joss Whedon’s brain child continues to grow in unpredictable ways are fun to search out.

This book would make a great addition to any collection.  Libraries will be glad to have another strong female character as well as an adventure fantasy that features soul searching and self-confidence.  Physical battles amongst mental challenges make this a great read and a worthy addition to the Buffyverse.