Tag: short stories

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: September 26, 2017
281 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

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.

Kim’s Review:

I love the Grishaverse so so much! Ever since I read Six of Crows, I’ve been obsessed. And even beyond that, there isn’t a book Bardugo has written that I don’t like. Language of Thorns is definitely one of my favorites. It’s imaginative and engaging and I have no doubt that these stories are true. They’re all in true Grishaverse form. Dark, rich, cultural . . . And the artwork is spectacular! The more I read, the more I wanted to learn about each of the countries that the stories came from. Bardugo sure better keep writing cuz there’s not nearly enough out there! I would even say these are the kind of fairy tales that I would read to a kid to get them interested in reading. I have no criticisms of any kind and would recommend these stories to any and everybody.

My review of Six of Crows Duology is here.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


It’s Time For Some Poe!

Today Kim shares with us some mini-reviews of a few of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings. She also does a video film comparison of a movie based off one of his short stories!

Today she reviews:
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Masque of the Red Death
Some Account of Stonehenge, The Giant’s Dance
The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

The Tell-Tale Heart
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

The Tell-Tale Heart” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It follows an unnamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a “vulture eye”. The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by cutting it into pieces and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator’s guilt manifests itself in the hallucination that the man’s heart is still beating under the floorboards.

Kim’s Review:

Such a great look at guilt! Once the murder is committed, the narrator is nearly driven mad by his own guilt, manifesting in the loud beating heart under the floorboards! And then, like icing on cake, he throws in some hubris! The narrator has it all under control, until the cops show up and then he literally gives himself away! Excellent short story that everyone should read!


The Masque of the Red Death   
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

A short story by Edgar Allan Poe about a wealthy prince who hides out at a masquerade ball with other wealthy nobles in order to avoid the plague known as “Red Death.”

Kim’s Review:
A classic tale of hubris and irony! Also one of those stories that teachers love to dissect and analyze. I remember reading it back in school and trying to figure out the meaning behind all the colors of the rooms … I still don’t know, but I don’t think I’m missing much! However this is a chilling tale that has crazy imagery that gives me goosebumps! You can’t run from death, so don’t even try!


Some Account of Stonehenge, The Giant’s Dance 
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

An informative article about the possible origins and functions of Stonehenge.

Kim’s Review:
Poe wrote a historical article about Stonehenge and I found it fascinating! This piece is far from his normal dark fiction, but it is well done and informative. He sticks with facts and we’ll documented speculation from respected historians and ancient writings. My one issue is in his introduction, which is where a writer’s creativity belongs in a work of non-fiction. And I will admit it’s just my personal preference based on my own experience with Stonehenge. I went to Stonehenge with very low expectations, very much like Poe’s view. However, I left with a sense of wonder! There’s something so ancient and magical about Stonehenge and I’m left wondering if Poe had actually been to or seen Stonehenge. But, he didn’t let this color his facts in anyway and gave an impartial view. Very good article!


The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether        
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether is a dark comedy short story by the American author Edgar Allan Poe. The story follows an unnamed narrator who visits a mental institution in southern France known for a revolutionary new method of treating mental illnesses called the “system of soothing”. A companion with whom he is travelling knows Monsieur Maillard, the originator of the system, and makes introductions before leaving the narrator. The narrator is shocked to learn that the “system of soothing” has recently been abandoned. He questions this, as he has heard of its success and popularity, but Maillard tells him to “believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see”.

Kim’s Review:
Such a simple tale, yet so effective!! Poe in his typical dark style, tells a story of an asylum where a different sort of treatment is used. One of acceptance and comfort. Pretty unheard of for this time so naturally I’m curious and reveling in the setting!! For such a short story, the twist is nuts … pardon the pun! It’s an amazing story that shows Poe’s genius! It’s easy to read and quick to get through! I absolutely recommend it to everyone!


The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether by Edgar Allan Poe vs. Stonehearst Asylum starring Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley Movie Comparison:

Purchase Link:
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
(Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition)




It’s Time For Some Scary Stories!

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of the Scary Stories trilogy by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Kim also gives her thoughts in a movie comparison of the new movie by Guillermo del Toro!

Books in the Trilogy:
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones

Trilogy Description:

The iconic anthology series of horror tales that’s now a feature film!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a timeless collection of chillingly scary tales and legends, in which folklorist Alvin Schwartz offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time.

Jessica’s Rating:
Book 1: 4 stars

Book 2: 3 stars
Book 3: 4 stars 

Jessica’s Review:

I LOVED the Scary Stories books as a kid and I remember being freaked out by those drawings!  When I found out Guillermo del Toro was going to be doing a film version I became excited, I had to get those books again (with the original drawings!)  In 2011 the books were re-released with new drawings that were more ‘kid friendly”….. NO WAY…. You MUST read these books the way it was intended and that is with the original drawings by Stephen Gammell! The books were changed back in 2017 with the original illustrations. I was lucky enough to find books one and two at my local used bookstore and then lucky me found MY original book three from when I was a kid!!! Score: I had all three books again!

These books are based off old folklore and are written for kids. Some of the stories tell you how to scare your friends while reading the story to a group.  As I was reading them now I remembered some of the stories and illustrations.  Those drawings just stay with you…  My favorite of the three books was the third and final book, and it was probably my favorite as a kid since I still had it! I don’t have many of the books left from when I was a kid, so this one must have been important to me. I even circled some of the story titles in the table of contents.

If you enjoyed these books as a kid, you will surely enjoy them as an adult and get a sense of nostalgia.

Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Kim’s Review:

Ivan and I went to see Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in the theater when it came out. We saw the preview and were intrigued so we watched it. I enjoyed it enough that I decided to get the books and read them. I think they’re such good books to introduce horror to kids! Obviously, it varies from kid to kid, but these books definitely work on the creepy side without being ridiculously scary. I read thru all 3 books in about an hour and found them engaging and chilling. I won’t go so far as to say that they scratched the horror itch, they were too mild for that. But, for the audience they were written for, they’re perfect. The illustrations also added to the reading and made it even more fun. I absolutely recommend these books to read to your kids when they want to be scared. Excellent story collection!

Here is a sample of the illustrations by Stephen Gammell:

Movie Trailer:

Here is Kim’s Movie Comparison Thoughts:

**Please note that the Hill House comparison she references will be coming soon, even though she filmed it first**

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Pre-order the Film:
Amazon US Out November 5th
Amazon UK There is no date of release for the UK, but you can pre-order it!